Orlando, FLA. – The science behind hurricane research continues to evolve every hurricane season.
From innovative technology on hurricane hunting planes to uncrewed aerial systems, like drones, these modes of transportation are giving us a whole new window into the eye of a storm.
Most of NOAA’s hurricane-hunting fleet investigate storms from the air, but the newest tool, called the Saildrone, is collecting data where the storm meets the sea.
During one of its first missions, the uncrewed Saildrone Explorer SD 1045 was directed into the heart of Hurricane Sam, a Category 4 hurricane in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Through the trip, SD1045 battled 50-foot waves and winds of over 120 mph to collect data in a section of a storm that is extremely difficult and dangerous to enter.
In a world first, a @saildrone has captured video from inside a hurricane.— NOAA Research (@NOAAResearch) September 30, 2021
The Saildrone battled Hurricane #Sam's 50-ft waves and 120+ mph winds to collect critical scientific data and give us a brand new view of one of earth’s most destructive forces. https://t.co/vWHJUo1y2r pic.twitter.com/gO22wBhua2
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.
According to NOAA, SD1045 is one of a fleet of five “hurricane” Saildrones that have been operating in the Atlantic Ocean during the season, gathering data around the clock to help understand the physical processes of hurricanes.
Along with the incredible data retrieved during the mission, the Saildrone is also giving us a new unique look inside a hurricane.
“After conquering the Arctic and Southern oceans, hurricanes were the last frontier for Saildrone survivability. We are proud to have engineered a vehicle capable of operating in the most extreme weather conditions on Earth” Saildrone founder and CEO Richard Jenkins said.
The goal in all these innovative researching tools is to improve storm forecasting by allowing better preparedness along the coastline and reducing the loss of human life.