While one million people are evacuating three US states before Hurricane Florence makes landfall, one group of scientists has flown right into harm’s way.
The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) Air Operations Centre posted time-lapse footage on Tuesday (local time) of one of its aircraft flying through the centre of the category four hurricane.
NOAA is similar to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
The US agency is a scientific agency within United States Department of Commerce that studies conditions of the oceans, major waterways and the atmosphere.
The video shows the WP-3D Orion flying through dense cloud, before breaking out of the cloud into the eye of the hurricane with a blue sky above.
But the fine weather was short-lived, with the opposite side of the hurricane’s eyewall on the horizon.
Twitter user sciaroyal tweeted that it was an “absolutely fantastic video”.
“No matter how many times I see it, I’m blown away by the beautiful, sunny skies at the heart of these monsters,” sciaroyal wrote.
The video has been viewed more than 300,000 times.
NOAA’s scientists were making flights through the hurricane to collect data for weather forecasting, and get the most up-to-date information on the storm as it intensified.
Emergency services in the US states of North and South Carolina, as well as Virginia, are bracing for the impact of Hurricane Florence, which is expected to become a category-five storm before it makes landfall on Friday.
More than one million people have been issued mandatory evacuation orders, with 250km/h winds and a six-metre storm surge expected.
Cheryl Nelson, a meteorologist and natural disaster expert based in Virginia, said people in the affected states needed to take the threat from the storm seriously.
— HRD/AOML/NOAA (@HRD_AOML_NOAA) August 22, 2018