Hurricane Hunters Track Alex

Members of Air Force Reserve Command’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at Keesler AFB, Miss., played an important on-location role earlier this week in tracking Tropical Storm (formerly Hurricane) Alex as it worked its way through the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall on June 29 in northern Mexico. Flying the unit’s specially equipped WC-130 weather reconnaissance aircraft directly into the heart of the storm, they provided data to the National Hurricane Center on the storm’s path and intensity. Alex was weakening Thursday afternoon as it passed over the heart of Mexico. One newer piece of gear carried on the WC-130s, the microwave radiometer, is making a difference in measuring wind speeds. “We’re getting a good picture of the surface winds of the storm,” said Maj. Jeff Ragusa, aircraft commander. He added, “That’s a capability we didn’t have a few years ago.” (Keesler report by Randy Roughton)