NEW ORLEANS - WGNO meteorologist Jason Disharoon hitched a ride with the Hurricane Hunters and flew straight through the eyewall of Hurricane Michael as it was making landfall along the Florida Panhandle.
Disharoon joined the Hurricane Hunters, formally known as the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squad, in Biloxi, Mississippi, for an amazing ride straight through the heart of Hurricane Michael.
The initial ride was smooth, but things got steadily more turbulent as the aircraft got closer and closer to the eye of the storm.
Once they finally punched through Hurricane Michael’s eyewall, Disharoon and the rest of the Hurricane Hunter crew were treated to a spectacular sight.
“It wasn’t until we hit the eyewall that things kind of got a little dicey,” he said. “The turbulence was astounding, but it was all worth it, because once you make it through the eyewall, you finally make it into the eye. With Michael being a very strong Category 4 upon landfall, it had a very well-defined eye, with the ‘stadium effect,’ as it’s called, and it was a very rare thing to see in person.”
The Hurricane Hunters also got to see another rare site while they were flying through the eye of the storm - Michael’s storm surge cascading over the coastline along the Florida Panhandle.
Long after landfall, Hurricane Michael’s impact is still being felt along the Florida coast and much further inland, and the recovery process is going to be long and difficult for those who lost homes and property to Michael’s devastating winds and water.
“Unfortunately, as beautiful as the storm is up top, it is deadly down below,” Disharoon said.
Take another look at the moment the Hurricane Hunters broke through Hurricane Michael's eyewall: