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

'Swiss Army Man' Directors Explain The Symbolism Behind A Farting Corpse

The directors of Swiss Army Man — Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — talk to NPR's Kelly McEvers about what inspired them to make a movie about a flatulent corpse, and the deeper meaning behind it.
NPR

Can Arnold Schwarzenegger Persuade China To Eat Less Meat?

Like the U.S., China is battling obesity and climate change. So it's urging citizens to eat less meat — and spreading the word with public service ads featuring Hollywood stars.
NPR

Kansas Votes More Money For Public Schools To Avert Shutdown

Legislators, pressured by the state Supreme Court, passed a $38 million package for the state's underfunded schools. Justices had threatened to close all public schools in Kansas after this month.
NPR

Shock, Rage And Gallows Humor: A Brexit Backlash On Social Media

Young voters had overwhelmingly voted to remain in the European Union. Now there's a flood of anger from those who accuse older generations of choosing a future they don't want.

Leave a Comment

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