Hurricane Hunter flights continue into Sally and Teddy

NOAA’s P-3 aircraft wrapped up their sequence of missions into Hurricane Sally prior to the system’s eventual landfall along the central Gulf Coast. Tasked by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), its final flight took off on September 15 at 9:30 EDT from Lakeland, FL. 

Hurricane scientists supporting P-3 missions into Hurricane Sally identified the location and strength of the system’s circulation. Onboard instrumentation indicated that the storm’s intensity remains unchanged, with surface wind measuring up to 70 knots.

NOAA P-3 flight track overlaid on radar reflectivity of Hurricane Sally on September 15.

Rob Rogers, PhD, Lead Project Scientist (LPS) for G-IV missions into Sally, explains that “the dense coverage of dropsondes allows hurricane experts to study how Sally intensified so quickly during a phase of strong pulsing convection and while in the presence of vertical wind shear”.

Sampling atmospheric conditions before and after Hurricane Sally’s rapid intensification revealed how the vortex aligned and the role that the alignment played in the evolution of the system’s development.

GOES-East satellite imagery of Hurricane Sally as it sits just offshore of the central Gulf Coast of the United States on September 15.

AOML’s Hurricane Research Division and its partners tasked NOAA’s G-IV to conduct reconnaissance into Tropical Storm Teddy. The aircraft took off at 12:00 EDT on September 15 from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, to tackle science objectives defined in AOML’s Synoptic Flow Experiment

As part of one strategy outlined in AOML’s Intensity Forecast Experiment (IFEX), this experiment focuses on collecting high-altitude dropsonde measurements within the storm and its surrounding environment. 

It uses an experimental product that identifies regions where numerical models can benefit the most from additional observations during their initialization. Dropsondes released at these locations can facilitate the assessment of this product for the use of targeting in operational tropical cyclone prediction.

Tropical Storm Teddy as seen from visible and infrared satellite sensors on September 15.

The P-3 aircraft plan to relocate to St. Croix for follow-on missions into Teddy on September 16. 

>> Scientist K. Ryan
>> Edits by R. Kravetz

For the latest information about tropical cyclones and other weather systems, please visit the NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center.

For information on numerical prediction of tropical cyclones, please visit NOAA/NCEP/Environmental Modeling Center.

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DISCLAIMER: The above discussion is intended to provide a brief summary of recent and future HRD Hurricane Field Program Operations. Any use of this material beyond its original intent is prohibited without permission of the HRD Director, Frank Marks ( Media inquiries should be directed to AOML Communications (, Monica Allen (301-734-1123) or

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