Two years ago Hurricane Katrina kicked the U.S. government's ass. Now, as Hurricane Dean sweeps past Jamaica on its way to the U.S. Gulf Coast, FEMA, the Coast Guard and the other military services are poised to prove they can do better the second time around. The military response actually began days ago when the Air Force's WC-130J hurricane-hunting patrol planes deployed brand-new sensors to more accurately predict when and where Dean will hit and what kind of damage it will do, according to the service. The "Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer," or "smurf,"
allows the Citizen Airmen of the Hurricane Hunters to constantly measure surface winds directly below the aircraft. The smurf can also determine rainfall rates within a storm system. This, in addition to wind speeds at flight level, provides structural detail of the storm. "The SFMR will be the biggest advance I can think of to improve hurricane intensity forecasts," said Max Mayfield, former director of the [National Hurrican Center].
The data collected by the Hurricane Hunters increase the accuracy of the NHC forecast by 30 percent, a rate which will undoubtedly increase with the use of the smurf. This data enables the NHC to more accurately predict the path of storms in order to save lives and narrow areas of evacuation, according to NHC forecasters.
U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet
Well we have Tropical Storm Gil and Tropical Depression ELEVEN E (RESOE EDIS) off the Pacific Coast that we are keeping an eye on. There are also a couple of interesting tropical waves forming off the African Coast (see Tropical Weather Outlook and Storm Watch-Carib interactive graphics- left side of page)!
Chicago Weather for the weekend? Just great! Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!