One of my very favorite environmental writers is "Eco-redneck" Steve Chapple. He recently signed up to do a science-adventure series with Readers Digest (the largest print magazine in America at 8.1 million readers — who knew?) on the environment. Last month he covered collapsing coral reefs and this month, just in time for hurricane season, he took to the air in NOAA's P-3 Orian aircraft to fly into the heart of a hurricane.

Originally a military craft, the Orion has been outfitted so that scientists can learn more about how and where hurricanes are forming. You can read his whole account on

Little known piece of trivia: the word hurricane is derived from the name of the angry Mayan god of the wind, Huracan, for good reason. One on-board meteorologist explains, "These storms are like breathing animals. They are oscillating all the time."

Chapel suggests a variety of ways to stay abreast of what is expected to be a bumpy ride this hurricane season:

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