PINE BELT, miss. (WDAM) – For the first time, an ocean drone intercepted a hurricane to get data from the storm.
The watercraft is called the Sail Drone and is being developed by US Business Sail Drone, based in Alameda, California.
These drones are designed to collect and explore ocean data at the highest resolution to understand how it affects our everyday weather.
“It’s critical to understanding hurricane intensification,” said Andy Ziegwied, Vice President of Ocean Data at Sail Drone. “They sail and collect data before, during and after the hurricane. The real-time in-situ data on the heat transfer between the ocean and the atmosphere in the eye of the hurricanes will help the National Weather Service improve the hurricane forecast.
Ziegwied said the drones’ main goal is to gain insight into which tropical storms could turn into major hurricanes before or when they hit coastal communities. He adds that this data could help coastal residents prepare and evacuate faster before the storm hits.
“We learn a lot about sailing skills when crossing the Atlantic and Pacific. Operation in the Gulf Stream with strong currents, strong winds and storm surges, ”said Ziegwied.
The company recently made headlines after intercepting a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Sam.
Before the drone could complete the mission, however, it had to be upgraded to withstand hurricane strikes.
“We built a modified wing,” said Ziegwied. “We call that a hurricane wing. We launched five sailing drones with these modified wings to see if they could withstand the elements and bring the data back. “
The drones retrieved data from Hurricane Sam, data sent to partner organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service.
The next mission is to send sailing drones into the Gulf Stream.
For more information on this incredible feat, please visit https://www.saildrone.com/press-release/ocean-drone-captures-video-inside-category-4-hurricane
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