See Hurricane Michael storm hunters fly straight into its eye

Air Force pilots share a grim inside look at the monster storm threatening Florida's Gulf Coast.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

Hamilton fans know the lyric: "In the eye of a hurricane, there is quiet/for just a moment."

US Air Force Reserve Pilot Will Simmons experienced that quiet Wednesday morning, and it's just as eerie as in Alexander Hamilton's day. Simmons was flying a USAF Hurricane Hunter mission out of Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, and after multiple passes through the eye, finally had enough daylight to see the massive storm.

"Life-threatening effects are imminent along parts of the Florida panhandle," he wrote in a tweet sharing a video of that brief moment in the eye.

Monstrous clouds surround the plane like walls as the crew flies through and records the video.

"I love the job, but at the same time, hate that I had to go out to fly this today," Simmons wrote. "Extremely powerful hurricane."

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida Wednesday morning as a category 4 storm that the New York Times called "frighteningly powerful." 

"This is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. "Hurricane Michael is upon us, and now is the time to seek refuge."

The National Weather Service issued a chilling message Wednesday morning. "Landfall of #HurricaneMichael is imminent," the organization tweeted. "THIS IS A WORST CASE SCENARIO for the Florida Panhandle!!"

Webcams in Florida are also recording the storm activity, though intensifying conditions could force them offline.

NASA sees dramatic Earth weather from space (pictures)

See all photos