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

How Photos Of Crisis Can Shape The Events They Represent

NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Kira Pollack, director of photography and visual enterprise at Time, about how iconic photos might affect the conversation about the events they have come to represent.
NPR

How Big Egg Tried To Bring Down Little 'Mayo' (And Failed)

Newly released emails from the American Egg Board reveal embarrassing details about its fight against the vegan product Just Mayo. Industry critics say the board's antics may have broken the law.
NPR

New Cellphone Surveillance Safeguards Imposed On Federal Law Enforcement

Federal law enforcement officials will be routinely required to get a search warrant before using secretive and intrusive cellphone-tracking technology under a new Justice Department policy.
NPR

How The Architect Of Netflix's Innovative Culture Lost Her Job To The System

Netflix is famous for pioneering a company culture that demands standout results from every employee. One of the architects of this philosophy ended up losing her job to the system she created.

Leave a Comment

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