Weather Service collecting data using extra balloons

9:00 AM, Oct 26, 2012   |    comments
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GRAY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The National Weather Service is doing extra work to make sure it has the most accurate data to predict this storm.

PHOTO GALLERY: Weather balloon launch

The National Weather Service typically sends up two weather balloons a day to collect data on patterns in the atmosphere that would influence both the strength and direction of storms. When scientists are tracking a hurricane, however, they start collecting that data 4 times a day. As of Wednesday, about 130 locations around the country, including Maine, are doing those extra launches.

Each weather balloon carries with it a cardboard box filled with sensors called a Radiosonde. And that Radiosonde sends coded data back to a supercomputer in Washington D.C. The computer, in turn, does some complicated equations and creates the models that you see our weather team using in its forecasts.

James Brown of the National Weather Service said, "We're trying to give the models a bit more information so that when we're looking at the models we're getting real time data and get a handle on what this storm is actually going to do."

It takes about two hours for all that data to get crunched by the computer.


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