Air Force Hurricane Hunter Flew Through Hurricane Ian, Describes It As ‘Strongest Storm’ Of Career

Maj. Kendall Dunn, a member of the Air Force’s Hurricane Hunters division, flew through Hurricane Ian on Wednesday, later describing it as the “strongest storm” he has experienced in his entire career.

The Hurricane Hunters are a division under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Air Force Reserves, and they are responsible for venturing into storms in order to gather data that is integral in forecasting tropical cyclones and mapping the surface wind environments.

Dunn’s crew include members of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. They departed Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi aboard a WC-130J Hercules and made four passes through the storm.

“We flew into it, 10,000 feet, and the first couple passes into the storm, standard stuff for us Hurricane Hunters, seeing 100 mile an hour winds or so,” Dunn said after the flight. “But the third and fourth pass, they were life changers.”

“Honestly… we were doing what we need to do just to keep the airplane airborne, keep it right side up,” Dunn continued. “The eyewall was something I’ve never seen.”

“The amount of mesocyclones and tornadoes inside the wall, it was an absolute mess,” he added.

Dunn appeared shocked by what he had witnessed, stating that it was hard for him to convey “how big of a deal this is.”

“It’s the strongest storm I’ve ever been in,” he said.

The eye of Hurricane Ian made landfall around 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday, with high winds and heavy rain causing power outages across Southwestern Florida.

With the storm already upon them, citizens are being told by officials to remain in place and ride the storm out.

“If you are in any of those counties, it’s no longer possible to safely evacuate,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). “It’s time to hunker down and prepare for this storm.”