This year, we’ve seen just how destructive and deadly hurricanes can be, but the giant storms can also have a certain beauty to them. A New Orleans meteorologist got the rare opportunity to see inside Hurricane Michael and he took a camera along with him.
Jason Disharoon with WGNO hitched a ride with the Hurricane Hunters, formally known as the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squad, and flew straight through the eyewall of the hurricane as it made landfall along the Gulf Coast.
Disharoon said the ride was smooth at first, but as their aircraft got closer to the eye of the storm, things got increasingly turbulent. Once they finally punched through the hurricane’s eyewall, Disharoon and the rest of the crew were treated to a spectacular sight.
“It wasn’t until we hit the eyewall that things kind of got a little dicey,” said Disharoon. “The turbulence was astounding, but it was all worth it, because once you make it through the eyewall, you finally make it into the eye. With Michael being a very strong Category 4 upon landfall, it had a very well-defined eye, with the ‘stadium effect,’ as it’s called, and it was a very rare thing to see in person.”
The Hurricane Hunters also got to see another rare site while they were flying through the eye of the storm – Michael’s storm surge cascading over the coastline along the Florida Panhandle.
Long after landfall, Hurricane Michael’s impact is still being felt along the Florida coast and much further inland, and the recovery process is going to be long and difficult for those who lost homes and property to Michael’s devastating winds and water.
“Unfortunately, as beautiful as the storm is up top, it is deadly down below,” Disharoon said.