NASA has been busy gathering weather data by sending retired Global Hawk military drones up in the sky over Hurricane Florence. The data can be used to analyze conditions and better predict its forecasted path.
But another newer method of gathering hurricane data is an underwater drone, known as a Slocum glider. This torpedo-like remote-controlled drone carries sensors to measure ocean conditions such as temperature, salinity and density and transmits data back to a shard database used by the National Weather Service and other weather agencies. Scientists say this underwater drone data fills in gaps in left by sky satellite coverage. The data can be used to monitor the conditions of the ocean that may affect hurricane development and trajectory.
Currently, there are two underwater drone gliders patrolling the Hurricane Florence – one off the coast of Cape Hatteras, NC, the other off the Georgia-South Carolina border.
Drone pilots are also poised and ready for the recovery effort after Hurricane Florence strikes. Despite the ordered evacuation of over 1 million people in the storm’s projected path, ultimately many people stay behind. Drone pilots are now a vital part of the disaster response, especially for insurance companies. Drone pilots are able to deploy long before manned aircraft and determine hurricane damage, flooded roads, and downed power lines.