Sailing into SAM

Saildrones get the job done!

Courtesy NOAA

You might recall I blogged about Saildrones at the beginning of summer: just like aerial drones fly directly into a hurricane, these Saildrones are designed to literally sail right into the winds and waves of hurricanes. And that’s exactly what happened this week with Hurricane SAM. Five of these sailing instruments have been operating this summer. Here’s what these Saildrones look like:

courtesy Saildrones

Against 50′ waves and145mph winds, Saildrones are undoubtedly the safest way to collect weather data from active storms.

“Saildrone is going where no research vessel has ever ventured, sailing right into the eye of the hurricane, gathering data that will transform our understanding of these powerful storms,” said Richard Jenkins, Saildrone founder and CEO. “After conquering the Arctic and the Southern Ocean, 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.

Here’s a look at the Saildrone facing those winds--you can see where the Saildrone is in reference to the eye of the storm:

courtesy Saildrone

And look at these still pictures of the roiling sea:

courtesy Saildrone
courtesy Saildrone

Bottom Line

Saildrones are not recreational--they are enormously informational and provide data that will go directly into the research and understanding of hurricanes, especially their intensification.

“Using data collected by Saildrones, we expect to improve forecast models that predict rapid intensification of hurricanes,” said Greg Foltz, a NOAA scientist. “Rapid intensification, when hurricane winds strengthen in a matter of hours, is a serious threat to coastal communities. New data from Saildrones and other uncrewed systems that NOAA is using will help us better predict the forces that drive hurricanes and be able to warn communities earlier.”

You can see more still pictures and amazing videos from the Saildrone mission right here.

Watch those Streets!

courtesy John Hunt

We have had an admittedly miserable morning (at least it’s Friday), but it looks to clear a bit later this afternoon and into the evening. We’ll see scattered showers this weekend as a cold front approaches bringing back fabulous fall weather on Monday!

Have a safe weekend!


Email me and follow me on Facebook!

About the Author:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.