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Scientists capture drone footage from inside Hurricane Sam

Scientists capture drone footage from inside Hurricane Sam
Data captured from surfboard-mounted drones will ‘transform our understanding of these powerful storms’

Scientists sailed a drone mounted on a robotic surfboard into the eye of Hurricane Sam, capturing footage that will ‘transform our understanding of these powerful storms’.

In a world-first, the video shot by a experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Saildrone shows the swirling seas, 120 mile per hour winds and darkened skies from the core of the inside of the Category 4 hurricane as it moved across the Atlantic Ocean.

The footage shot by the Saildrone Explorer SD 1045 is giving scientists “a completely new view of one of earth’s most destructive forces,” NOAA said in a statement.

Equipped with a “hurricane wing” which enables it to operate in extreme wind conditions, the drone collected “real-time observations for numerical hurricane prediction models”, which will give insights into how large and destructive tropical cyclones grow and intensify.

It is one of five drones operating in the Atlantic Ocean during the 2021 hurricane season.

“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,” Richard Jenkins, Saildrone founder and CEO, said.

“After conquering the Arctic and 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.”

The Atlantic Ocean has had 21 storms during the 2021 season, which runs from June to the end of November.

Several hurricanes have made landfall in the US this year, causing major damage, long-term power outages and massive flooding.