Some forecasters were left without real-time data during parts of Hurricane Dorian due to canceled Hurricane Hunter missions, according to the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper.
Two Hurricane Hunter missions were canceled and two other planes were relocated during the peak of the storm in the Bahamas on Sept. 1.
One mission out of Homestead Air Force Base on Aug. 30 was canceled due to a cracked window pane, while a Sept. 1 flight out of Keesler Air Force Base was canceled because of a radar malfunction, Air Force officials confirmed to the Tallahassee Democrat.
National Hurricane Center scientist Eric Blake asked his Twitter followers to send him data. He asked for “any high wind or low pressure observations out there other than Settlement Point. Very little data in #Dorian this morning.”
Tallahassee meteorologists were also feeling the effects of the missing data, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“We were blind to the low-level structure of Dorian at a time when there was the largest uncertainty about the storm,” said Ryan Truchelut, chief meteorologist at WeatherTiger.
The lack of data could make it hard for meteorologists to identify how strong Dorian was when it made landfall in the Bahamas.
“The aircraft data is really valuable for providing direct measurements of what the storm is doing,” Michael Brennan, the branch chief of the Hurricane Specialist Unit at the NHC, told the Tallahassee Democrat.
“All that gives us more confidence in our analysis. This gives us more solid footing as we go into initializing our model guidance.”