SAVANNAH, Ga. — As Hurricane Florence made its way ashore, Channel 2 Action News was alongside hurricane hunters calculating the storm's every twist and turn.
Channel 2's Tony Thomas flew with hurricane hunters as they made their final flight through Florence Thursday night, as the storm was getting ready to make landfall.
Thomas said as they flew into the storm, the system was changing around them, morphing into the big rainmaker currently drenching the Carolinas.
[LIVE UPDATES: Rescues underway as Florence pounds the coast]
“How important is this?” Thomas asked Master Sgt. Tom Barnaby.
“Very important. It's one of the main reasons that we fly so we can get the pressure of the storm,” Barnaby said.
Naval researchers aboard the C-130 aircraft send buoys into the ocean, testing water temperature that was fueling the storm.
At the time, Florence’s eye was spinning about 80 miles off shore.
Thomas said as they made their first pass into the eye of storm, there was very little turbulence once inside.
As they were leaving the eye and back into the wall of the storm, Thomas said the plane started to get rocked by Florence.
The crew flew in a predetermined pattern for several more hours as the sun set and people on the coast below prepared for the assault.
“Explain what you've learned so far on this flight?” Thomas asked weather officer Tobi Baker.
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“The storm, overall, has held pretty steady and it's just now interacting with the coastline of the Carolinas. It's beginning to dwindle a little bit,” Baker said.
With Florence now onshore, the hurricane hunters' work is done.
After the final flight, the crew headed back to its base on the Gulf Coast and will soon head out on more flights to monitor the other storms brewing in the Atlantic.
Cox Media Group