Penetrating the swirling bands of wind and blinding rain is never routine for the crews who fly into the center of tropical cyclones each year. Their missions, to gather direct weather readings from within these massive storms, helps save lives by improving the forecast strength and movement of these deadly storms. Starting on Sept. 29, audiences at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater will get a taste of what it’s like to fly into the eye of a hurricane and experience the height of a storm both on land and underwater.
“Beyond the question of where hurricanes strike, we wanted to tell the tales of the wind. To speak of winds beyond imagination,” said the film’s producer Andy Byatt. “To understand the stress of waiting; the relief of the near miss. We wanted to observe the fragility and resilience of nature, to discover what the mightiest weather system on earth means to all those who live beneath its shadow.”
Curiosity about hurricane formation and intensification has increased with the notoriety of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season. With nearly one third of the season still ahead, some of the most destructive storms on record have already been produced.
Hurricane Harvey rapidly intensified to Category 4 strength before landfall, creating devastating floods throughout Houston. Hurricane Irma lashed many Caribbean islands before causing a path of damage from Florida to Tennessee. And now Hurricane Maria, the second Category 5 hurricane of the year, is battering Puerto Rico.
There have been 13 named storms since the Atlantic Hurricane season officially began on June 1. In the last 30 days there have been five hurricanes:
- Harvey - category 4
- Irma - category 5
- Jose - category 1
- Katia - category 2
- Maria - category 5
Weather experts say this is the most active year since 1995, the year Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans.
“Hurricane 3D” helps audiences understand how these massive storms form and why one tropical system seems to weaken quickly while others become monsters. The film also delves into the ways tropical storms transfer heat, shape our lives, and impact nature.
“Giant screen theaters are the perfect platform for this heart-pounding story of one of nature’s most powerful forces,” said Eric Dillens, chairman of nWave Pictures. “The filmmakers have delivered an extraordinarily immersive journey: one that combines real life drama with the science and technology behind tracking and understanding how a hurricane forms and the systems in place to mitigate the damages.”
The film’s main “character” is Hurricane Lucy, a fictional storm whose growth is based on the development of several actual hurricanes the filmmakers documented over a five-year period.
Audiences will follow Lucy’s transformation along a 15,000-kilometer journey beginning with a gentle breeze over the African Sahel that grows into a life-giving monsoon before swelling to monumental proportions over the Atlantic Ocean. Ships are tossed on growing ocean swells, and the violent winds and torrential rains of Hurricane Lucy crash into the rainforests of the Carribean before causing immense storm surges in the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, the film peeks into the lives of a host of supporting characters, the men, women, plants and animals in Lucy’s path who are affected by it, for better or worse.
“Hurricane 3D” follows the meteorologists and emergency crews as they battle to predict the storm’s path, while those in harm’s way prepare for the worst. Meanwhile, NASA’s satellites and hurricane tracking aircraft capture the enormity of the storm. We see the environmental impact on coral reefs, agriculture and wildlife as the Category 4 hurricane engulfs the region. But once the damage is cleared, the regenerative power of nature is captured as audiences witness the rebirth of a rainforest and the return of its hardiest creatures.
The screenings of “Hurricane 3D” will take place from Sept. 29 through Oct. 26. The theater’s IMAX with Laser projection system and revamped sound system will render the film’s imagery in stunning, immersive detail, from orbital images of hypnotically swirling cloud patterns to on-the-ground scenes where the storm’s colossal power is in full effect.
Tickets to see “Hurricane 3D” are $11.95 for adults, $9.95 for children (ages 3 to 12). Members of the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Club ($40 per year) can attend screenings of this and all 45-minute documentary films for free. For a full schedule of screenings at the IMAX 3D Theater, visit tnaqua.org/imax. To purchase an IMAX Club membership, visit community.tnaqua.org/membership/imax-club.
Hurricane 3D at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater
Sept. 29 through Oct. 26
Daily at noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Friday and Saturday at noon, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Non-member: $11.95 adults; $9.95 children (3-12)
Aquarium Member: $8.00 adults; $8.00 children (3-12)
IMAX Club pass holders: Free