The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has what it says are the first pictures and videos taken of a surface in a hurricane. The agency placed the Saildrone Explorer SD 1045 in the path of Hurricane Sam of the fourth category. The saildrone overcame 50-foot waves and winds at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour to collect data from the hurricane and provide a new perspective on such storms.
The device has a special “hurricane wing” to withstand the strong wind conditions. The SD 1045 is one of five sailing drones that were deployed during the Atlantic. They are constantly recording data to help researchers gain a deeper understanding of hurricanes. The information could help improve storm forecasting, which will hopefully reduce the loss of life when hurricanes hit land.
“With the data collected by Saildrones, we expect to improve predictive models that predict the rapid intensification of hurricanes,” said Greg Foltz, scientist at NOAA. said in a statement. “Rapid intensification when the hurricane winds intensify within hours is a serious threat to coastal communities. New data from sailing drones and other unmanned systems used by NOAA will help us better predict the forces driving hurricanes and alert communities earlier. “
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