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The aerospace engineer who flew through Hurricane Ian on Wednesday morning said it was the “roughest flight” he’s been on — and that’s after flying 76 times through 22 storms.
“Out of all of those, that was absolutely the worst,” Nick Underwood said.
Underwood works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study these major weather events, up close and personal. The crew flies into a hurricane and out the other side.
He told CNN that Ian was strengthening to a Category 4 just as the crew was flying through the storm.
“There was a ton of turbulence, both up and down,” he said. “The lateral turbulence, which is honestly the most unsettling part of it — it was something else.”
Though every storm is different, the turbulence and the amount of lightning were what set apart Hurricane Ian.
“We were flying through at night, but once we got into the eye, I was taking photos like it was daytime because there was just so much lightning outside,” Underwood said. “It’s really just those simple factors that really contribute to these storms growing in size. That ocean temperature, the low wind sheer, those kinds of things.”
Watch the video from inside the aircraft: