WAMU 88.5 : News

Montgomery County Company Tracking Hurricane Irene With New Technology

Play associated audio
As Hurricane Irene approaches the D.C. area, a Montgomery County company is using lightning to track the storm in a new way.
NASA
As Hurricane Irene approaches the D.C. area, a Montgomery County company is using lightning to track the storm in a new way.

As Hurricane Irene approaches the D.C. area, a Montgomery County company is using lightning to track the storm in a new way.

Mark Hoekzema, chief meteorologist for Earth Networks in Germantown, says his company's update sensor system will allow them to look at lightning in a way that has never been done.

Lightning may not seem like a major part of a hurricane, but Hoekzema explains that it is a major indicator of how strong a storm is. The new sensors give their Weatherbug service a better view of lightning than they have ever had.

"It can see lightning in the cloud, as well as lightning on the ground," Hoekzema says.

Hoekzema believes this will allow them to improve their weather forecasts and provide valuable information on the strength of the storms.

"Intensity is one of the toughest things to forecast," he says. "It changes over time. There have been major impacts from storms that have intensified rapidly as they approached the coast. Coming in as a Category 2, Opal changed into a Category 5 just overnight."

Hurricane Opal made landfall on the Gulf Coast in 1995 as a Category 4 storm, killing at least 13 people in the U.S and causing almost $4 billion in damages.

NPR

Not My Job: Sharon Jones Gets Quizzed On Handshakes

We've invited the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings to play a game called "Let's shake on it."
NPR

Salvage Supperclub: A High-End Dinner In A Dumpster To Fight Food Waste

The ingredients — think wilted basil, bruised plums, garbanzo bean water — sound less than appetizing. Whipped together, they're a tasty meal that show how home cooks can use often-tossed foods.
NPR

Barbershop: Speechwriters Speak On The RNC And DNC

Republican speechwriter Mary Kate Cary, Democratic speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum and historian from the University of Virginia Barbara Perry dissect the last two weeks of speeches at the RNC and DNC.
NPR

From 'The Water's Edge To The Cutting Edge': Fish Skeletons, CT Scans And Engineering

Professor Adam Summers is a "fish guy." He uses fish to get engineering ideas. His latest project is to CT scan every type of fish — all 33,000 of them.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.