I ran across this article yesterday on Engadget, and it made me think about all of the changes this year, this season:
Robots Studying the Skies
The first change is that NOAA is planning to use these Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk to fly into the Hurricanes. You can read more about it here:
- EurekAlert: NASA mission sending unmanned aircraft over hurricanes this year
- NASA: NASA Mission Sending Unmanned Aircraft Over Hurricanes This Year
- NASA Mission Sending Unmanned Aircraft over Hurricanes This Year
- NASA: Dryden Flight Research Center > Dryden Aircraft > Global Hawk
If you are interested in reading more about the airplane itself, you can find a nice article on Wikipedia. According to this article, it was first used on Hurricane researching for Hurricane Earl in 2010. This article lists the instruments install on the aircraft.
RVANew has a great article that details more generically about flying into hurricanes. Apparently, multiple organizations fly into hurricanes. You can read about the Hurricane hunters on their website. They fly WC-130J aircraft. Then, the NOAA flies WP-3D and Gulfstream G-IV. Also, NOAA is also working with GALE drones. You can read more about those here. According to Dvice, the GALE drones are suicidal missiles!
A Crazy Hurricane Season
What has surprised me about this season is that we had two named storms before the season officially started. Hurricane season starts June 1st, but we had Alberto on May 19th and Beryl on May 23. To my surprise, Weather Underground lists a number of storms in the past before June 1st. Did you know that in 1908, there was a hurricane in March? Also in 1954, Alice formed in December.
Dear Drought, why should I mow; Dear Rain, when I am supposed to mow?
The past month has been very dry. According to the US Season Drought Outlook, we are in the “Drought likely to improve” area. According to Florida Forest Service, Valrico received 1.2 inches in April and 0.90 inches of rain in May. With only 8 days in June so far, we are at 5.9 inches! Last month, I couldn’t my grass to grow, but now, I am wondering when am I supposed to mow?
I compared the rainfall for May to previous years, and we were definitely below normal!
- 2011 — 2.5 inches
- 2010 — 2.6 inches
- 2009 — 6.76 inches
- 2008 — 0.6 inches
- 2007 — 1.5 inches
- 2006 — 2.35 inches
- 2005 — 4.14 inches
- 2004 — 1.6 inches
- 2003 — 4.57 inches