ORLANDO, Fla. – Fifty-foot waves. Winds over 100 mph.
A NOAA Saildrone took video from inside the center of Hurricane Fiona this week, giving us a view of the storm at ocean level. The vehicle, which is about 362.5 miles southwest of Bermuda, was maneuvered in Fiona’s path to collect data.
Normally we see storms through NOAA’s hurricane hunter aircraft video, but those are aerials. NOAA’s fleet of seven Saildrones provides a new view of storms.
The Saildrone is equipped with specially designed hurricane wings, enabling it to operate in extreme wind conditions while collecting real-time observations to improve modeling in hurricane track and intensity forecasts.
NOAA said the Saildrones are gathering data to help understand the “physical processes of hurricanes,” including how they develop and intensify. This better understanding is meant to improve storm forecasting and better prepare communities in the way of a storm.
Hurricane Fiona is the first Category 4 hurricane of the Atlantic Storm season. Four Saildrones actually tracked Fiona as it grew from a tropical storm to a major hurricane.
Fiona is currently predicted to affect Bermuda on Thursday and Nova Scotia on Friday.