FAQs about Hurricanes

9. How are hurricanes measured?

To measure the speed of a hurricane, “hurricane hunter” aircraft are used, whose pilots travel to the eye of the hurricane and release small probes to make these measurements. NASA has aircraft with more than 28 hours of flight autonomy, which can rise up to 18 km in height. From that level down to the eye of the storm to release these devices. These, cylindrical in shape, about 30 cm long and 15 cm wide, can measure a series of values in addition to the temperature and intensity of the wind. These data are collected by equipment installed in the aircraft that are processing the data, sending it to the National Hurricane Center for publication and location on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

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