While hurricane sandy is threatening those on the East Coast, actions being taken here in Grand Junction could help with the forecasting of this storm.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction usually launches a weather balloon every twelve hours but until further notice, they'll be doubling their balloon launches.
Orders came yesterday from the national weather service headquarters to increase the launches across the entire country. These weather balloons record upper air data as they float up into the atmosphere. This is part of an effort to help meteorologists get more data and possible clarify some of the uncertainty with the storms path.
“The previous model runs for this hurricane were indicating that it would go into Maine, but now it looks like the most recent runs are showing that going towards New Jersey. That being the case, there's a little bit of model uncertainty with this so the more information they can get from balloon launches like ours, that will help improve the models to help interpret where that's going” said John Kyle, Data Acquisition Program Manager at the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
This isn't the first time that increased balloon launches were used to help with forecasting. Last year, the National Weather Service increased the launches in preparation for Hurricane Irene on the East Coast.
The National Weather Service headquarters hopes that this will help with the storms path, improved warning time, and ultimately save lives.