Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Auntie Em! Auntie Em! It's a Twister

Well sort of. Sorry for the lack of posting. I've been busy with a small little drill happening in New England. You can read about it here, which is the only time you'll read the Insurance Journal. You might start subscribing because of me.

So yesterday morning, I got to attend the kick-off for this week long exercise in Rhode Island. Smallest state with the longest name. Anybody know what the full name is? Anyway, to coincide with the kickoff of the Hurricane Awareness Tour, they had the Hurricane Hunter fly in. If you don't know about these guys, lemme give you the gist.

When a hurricane forms in the Southern Atlantic, the only way we know about it is the satellite images.

So here we can see that Mother Nature is bringing a can of whoop ass, however we don't know if it's just a can or a case, or she's rolling in a keg and plans to marry our sister. This is just a picture, we can't tell speed accurately. Radar can do that, but it's range isn't total.

So we call upon the Hurricane Hunters. These guys fly out into the hurricane far off shore. While in the hurricane, they drop these things called dropsondes, which have a GPS chip in them that allows them to be tracked as they fly through the air. So we can get a good picture on wind speed, forward speed of the hurricane, and dimension of the eye wall. These guys all work for the Department of Commerce, which oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which in turn oversees the National Weather Service.

The wildest part? They fly into the hurricane in this thing....

This is the WP-3D Orion, a variant of the P-3 which is used mostly by the Navy to hunt submarines, and no longer made. This plane above is over 35 years old. We owe these pilots a debt of thanks. And 15 bucks for a copay for a shrink.

Here endeth the lesson.


alohab said...

My neighbor used to fly p-3s for the navy. Nuts is right. Those pilot-types are crazy all around. :)

girlski said...

rhode island and the providence plantations

great trivia pursuit question....