This video of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration P-3 Orion clawing its way through the eye of Hurricane Patricia was supposedly taken yesterday during the crew’s second center fix on the storm.

Hurricane Patricia is the strongest storm ever tracked in the hemisphere, and it is making landfall on Mexico’s west coast just as this is being written.

The scientific data garnered from hurricane hunter flights like the one shown are used to better predict and understand the targeted weather system, which ultimately saves lives.

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I had a private tour of one of NOAA’s WP-3D Orions named Kermit a few years ago and it was fascinating. The P-3 platform is a sturdy but aging one, and sitting inside the 40 year old highly modified turboprop, even on the ground, you can imagine how small your would feel facing down such a powerful weather system in the air.

It really is amazing that people do this. If something were to go terribly wrong there would be little chance of rescue. They are truly heroes.

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Check out details on the whole NOAA aircraft fleet here. The USAF’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flying the WC-130J also takes on this dangerous mission. Check out their capabilities here.

Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.