On Friday morning, at 7:40 AM EDT, our WB-57 took off for a third, and final flight over Hurricane Gonzalo. At the time of our flight, Gonzalo was a Category 3 storm located south of Bermuda. While we were flying Gonzalo, one of the NOAA P-3s was also investigating Gonzalo. The data the P-3 collected will be particularly useful for the WB-57 instrument teams to validate our results. For example, HIRad is very similar to the Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) onboard the NOAA P-3. We can use SFMR data that is collocated with HIRad data to validate our results over the coming weeks.
We still have through the end of October for science flights, so the forecasting team is looking for the next target we can fly over. The National Hurricane Center has given a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico, related to Tropical Storm Trudy, a medium chance of tropical cyclone formation in the next five days. There is still a lot of uncertainty in the forecast, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the Gulf next week. We always stay prepared for flights on the off chance that something turns out to be a better target for us than originally forecast. Stay tuned!