The technological marvel of Microsoft Flight Simulator is not only a faithful recreation of the entire planet that you can fly over, but also an accurate simulation of real weather that you can fly through. If it’s raining, snowing or storming somewhere around the globe and you fly your plane there in the game, you’ll experience that weather just as it happens in real life, and in real time.
The same applies to extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Ian (opens in a new tab)the massive Category 4 storm currently landing on the Florida coast after causing at least 2 deaths in Cuba and leaving the entire island without power.
“You could fit #Charley inside #Ian’s eye.” @JimCantore is LIVE in Punta Gorda, Florida showing storm footage and explaining the forecast: pic.twitter.com/OzAqbdlcQTSeptember 28, 2022
While Hurricane Ian is a serious threat, Microsoft Flight Simulator allows players a safe way to observe the storm and experience what it might be like to fly through such an extreme weather event. And virtual pilots take off to do just that, how they did back in 2020 when Hurricane Laura made landfall in the southern United States.
many_people_in_florida_for_hurricane_ian_it by r/MicrosoftFlightSim
As you can see in the in-game image posted on Reddit by Unstopy, which appears to be on an aircraft carrier off the coast, Hurricane Ian has attracted a crowd of Microsoft Flight Simulator players who want to get a close-up look at the storm. and test their flying skills in the strong winds. (If you’re wondering how Microsoft Flight Simulator sources its realistic, real-time weather, we have you covered (opens in a new tab).)
Some pilots share videos of themselves flying above the threatening clouds of the hurricane, for example JBTheExplorer (opens in a new tab), who also provided PC Gamer with the amazing screenshot at the top of this article while flying an F-16 over Ian. They posted more amazing pictures on Twitter (opens in a new tab).
Other pilots try to fly directly through the center of the storm in various types of aircraft, closely watching the clouds, rain, and even some terrifying lightning.
Granted, there’s a bit of an odd feeling about the fact that a devastating storm is attracting virtual onlookers, almost in the vein of disaster tourism (opens in a new tab). Hurricane Ian is a huge threat to those in its path, and having players flock to it in Microsoft Flight Simulator while people on the ground are in genuine danger can feel a shade off-putting. On the other hand, it is an opportunity to observe the power of nature up close without risking your life, and curiosity about how the storm looks and acts in the simulation is understandable.
If you or someone you know is in the path of Hurricane Ian, please visit the National Hurricane Center (opens in a new tab)as well as the NOAA website for storm forecasts (opens in a new tab) and security information (opens in a new tab).