Budget cuts threaten Hurricane Hunter missions

By on July 31, 2013

WC-130J Hurricane Hunter aircraft (Credit: U.S. Air Force, via Wikimedia Commons)

Flights to monitor the advances of hurricanes could be restricted following federal budget cuts, according to Capital Public Radio. Most of the planes that make the flights are commanded by the U.S. Air Force, which is not exempt from federal furloughs.

The commander of the Air Force squadron that completes the missions, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, says that his personnel could cover monitoring one hurricane, and that’s with juggling work schedules. Taking two storms on at once would be unlikely and covering three hurricanes would be practically impossible.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also makes hurricane flights, which combine with the Air Force effort to forecast hurricanes. NOAA, however, is not exposed to the same furloughs as the Air Force. The results of the cuts will be tested in upcoming months, as experts expect an especially active Atlantic hurricane season.

Image: WC-130J Hurricane Hunter aircraft (Credit: U.S. Air Force, via Wikimedia Commons)

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