Thursday, September 3, 2015

Storm stalking: Final update

The reconnaissance jet has completed its work for the day, having dropped 16 data probes to measure some of the most-ferocious winds on Earth.

Storm stalking: Final update


The reconnaissance jet has completed its work for the day, having dropped 16 data probes to measure some of the most-ferocious winds on Earth.

The storm that the Gulfstream IV was stalking at 45,000 feet has been affecting an extensive area from Alaska to central California, and the probes indicated that it was stronger than expected. One of the probes detected a jet-stream wind of 161 m.p.h. off the California
The remnants of that storm, which pounded that southwestern Canadian coast with hurricane-force winds, could affect Philadelphia by Sunday, says flight meteorologist Jessica Williams.
It was the second consecutive day that the Gulfstream, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, dropped its data bombs into the upper-level system that is giving a kick to the storm calling all the mayhem at the surface
No flights are scheduled tomorrow, but it looks like the Gulfstream will be heading to a new trouble spot over the Northern Pacific on Sunday.
Earlier, I had described the probes as looking like paper-towel dowels. Actually, they are a tad bigger, about 18 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
They weigh roughly two pounds each, and parachutes slow their descent to about 2 m.p.h. On the way down, they transmit data on wind speeds, temperature and pressure every half-second until the probe lands in the ocean, which was mightily agitated during the day with whitecaps visible all the way from 45,000 feet.
One of the dropsonde probes detected a wind of about 50 m.p.h. at the surface.
They work like upside-down weather balloons in an area where humans aren't available to release balloons.

More coverage
Hurricane winds
Storm stalking update
Live from the jet stream: Bombs away
Stalking storms, from 45,000 feet
Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

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