Mobile, Ala. (WKRG) – Saildrone Inc. and NOAA have shared video that was captured by an uncrewed surface vehicle from inside category 4 Hurricane Sam as it barreled through the Atlantic. While Sam is no threat to land, scientists are taking this opportunity to launch these vehicles to research hurricanes and collect/deliver data to improve hurricane forecast models. This is the first time that a research vessel has gone right into the eye of a hurricane.
The video released Thursday shows 50 foot waves with winds of at least 120 mph. The Hurricane Hunters do an amazing job gathering data at flight level to aid in forecasting these storms, but this is a new perspective that researchers and meteorologists can use.
How did this vehicle survive those kinds of conditions? NOAA says that these have a “hurricane wing” that allows it to navigate these winds and waves. The vehicle that went into Sam is called SD 1045 and is one of five Saildrones that have been observing data this hurricane season.