Hurricane hunter from Beaver braves Florence in the air

Raleigh County

As Hurricane Florence inches closer to landfall on the East Coast, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate, some courageous engineers and scientists are heading into the storm to take a closer look.

Over the last two years, Beaver-native Nick Underwood, utilized his aerospace engineering degree from WVU to chase hurricanes for NOAA.

“It is something other-worldly,” Underwood said. “My job is towards the back of the plane and operate a couple of data systems.”

Underwood and his crew flew through Florence nine times Monday, September 10, 2018 in a 10-hour span. From the aircraft, they retracted information from the air and water about the storm.

“[The data systems] collect temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind direction,” Underwood said. “They relay all that data back to the aircraft as we are flying.”

From his first time through Hurricane Matthew, to the present day with Florence, any fear of flying has become a thing of the past.

“I just stay focused on the mission,” Underwood said. “I stay focused on making sure that we’re collecting the data that we need to. I don’t even think about getting scared.”

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