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Here at The Why Files, we were pretty amazed by the accuracy with which scientists predicted the path of hurricane Floyd. Valid predictions save lives and money (just declaring a hurricane warning costs $192 million "due to preparation, evacuation and lost commerce"). So how do scientists do it?
Since 1944, one of the most important weapons in the war against the swirling unknown has been to fly right into the eye of the storm. Flying a series of missions into the developing hurricane makes it possible to get readings detailing the precise location, strength, and the size of the gale.
Hurricane Hunters begin by flying low altitude missions into the tempest to determine whether the wind is blowing in the counter-clockwise manner associated with hurricanes. As the whirlwind becomes increasingly severe, flights move to higher and higher altitudes.
If you wanna experience the inner-workings of a hurricane, you can take a virtual spin with the Hurricane Hunters; there are also movies of past missions. If whirling winds make you dizzy, here are some soothing photos.