We often think of hurricane hunters just tracking hurricanes, but that's no longer the case.
Now, these planes are collecting data from winter storms over the Pacific Ocean. The aircraft samples the environment around these storms. The data it collects are fed into computer models that meteorologists use as guidance to put together a forecast.
These storms often produce heavy rains and mountain snows, and are responsible for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in our part of the country about a week after they form.