Hurricane Irma grew into a risky Category 5 storm, the most powerful seen in the Atlantic in over a decade, and roared toward islands in the northeast Caribbean Tuesday on a path that could eventually take it to the United States. The video was captioned as, " "Video of a flight through the eye of #Irma on #NOAA42.
For the fearless scientists forecasting hurricanes, things are far less simple, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's "Hurricane Hunter" crew, it means flying straight into the most unsafe storms on the planet.
In this geocolor image captured by GOES-16 and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane, moves westward, Tuesday morning, September 5, 2017, in the Atlantic Ocean toward the Leeward Islands.
The video was filmed from inside an aircraft that belongs to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
According to National Geographic, pilots first began piercing the storm on September 3.
This data is collected by deploying tools called dropsondes, cylindrically shaped instruments that transmit information as they fall through the hurricane and into the ocean.
NOAA's Hurricane Research Division website says 30 dropsondes have been dropped into the storm on each flight into the Cat.
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That includes what to do if two massive hurricanes strike the USA mainland within days, 1,000 miles apart. It was a one-two punch of powerful storms certain to strain the agency's quickly dwindling coffers.
One of the most startling and, frankly, awe-inspiring moments of the video, above, shows pilots plummeting through the rough rain bands and then emerging into a completely tamed eye, or center of the storm.
Some of the most intriguing video footage from NOAA flights shows Irma's "eye", the middle of the hurricane where winds are calmest.
The accumulated clouds move steadily and in formation around the eye; meanwhile clear skies are visible as the pilots plunge ahead.
Irma will likely strike Florida by Sunday, possibly as a monstrous Category 4.
The cyclone of category 5 destroys everything in its path.
The National Hurricane Centre is also watching two more hurricanes that now form a trio with Irma: Katia in the southern Gulf of Mexico and Jose in the mid-Atlantic.