Thank goodness it’s Friday, right?
Everybody’s ready to relax, kick back.
Nothing could be farther from the truth for WVU graduate Nick Underwood, who’s a professional hurricane hunter in a big way.
This weekend isn’t the time to slack off.
As part of his duties with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he flew into Hurricane Irma.
And he’s eager to share that experience.
That’s why he has hooked up with his alma mater, not only granting an interview but also providing a video of flying into the storm.
Needless to say it’s important work since the category five hurricane is expected to hit Florida soon.
It has maximum sustained winds of more than 185 miles per hour, so that makes for a pretty amazing experience, he told a WVU interviewer.
“We fly directly into the eye of the storm, and yes it’s as wild as you’d think.”
Meteorologists say it’s the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history.
Underwood is charged with collecting data about the storm and where it’s headed, up close and personal.
A Raleigh County native who hails from Beaver, he graduated in 2014 with a degree in aerospace engineering.
He’s spent the last year working with NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center, often called the hurricane hunters.
In today’s predawn hours, he was once again aboard a WP-3D Orion aircraft.
It’s specially outfitted to perform research and reconnaissance work in powerful storms like hurricanes.
Data collected during these flights is sent to the National Hurricane Center.
Ultimately, his work may help save lives because the information is used to update landfall prediction models. It then helps officials better determine where and who needs to be evacuated before landfall.
“NOAA is an amazing organization and I’m proud to be doing the work that I am. If we can put a few people into the storm to get information that will allow for many more people to get out of the way of Irma, I think it’s worth it.”