New tech could bring more data to storm forecasting

Reporter: Gail Levy
Published: Updated:

There is a new technology that allows drones to go right into the storm which will help provide better storm forecasts in the future.

They are bright, orange-looking sailboats, called saildrones, cycled inside of a hurricane for the first time a year ago.

This year, there’s another drone to meet up with it when the winds fall to tropical force strength.

“We’re hoping to coordinate with some aerial drones,” said Dr. Greg Foltz, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hurricane Hunters will fly about the storm and drop the aerial drones with the hope they can coordinate measurements from the sky to the sea.

“That’d be the first to actually coordinate these uncrewed, these autonomous vehicles and aircraft together,” Foltz said.

The more research and information gathered on hurricanes could mean the more time you have to prepare for that category 4 or 5 storms.

“What the Saildrone is going on doing is carrying traditional meteorological sensors, things like temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, sea surface temperature, barometric pressure,” said Matt Womble, with Saildrone.

With that information, NOAA can better predict hurricane intensification.

“That’s really ultimately the main goal, right? We want to improve, forecast, save, save lives and protect property,” Foltz said.

Scientists believe this saildrone will set them on the right path.

The next saildrones to be deployed will leave from Jacksonville and St. Thomas in early July. They’ll be out there in the Atlantic Ocean until October.

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