A local team of scientists are hard at work tracking Hurricane Florence from above.
Meteorologists said the hurricane is expected to make landfall in North Carolina by Friday afternoon.
“It’s going to be moving really slow West, Southwest this way in the next 24 hours or so,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Joseph Cebulko said.
In the Capital Region, officials with the National Weather Service and the New York State Mesonet at the University at Albany have also been tracking Florence’s trajectory.
“The challenge with Florence, it has been, what’s going to happen as it approaches the coast as it makes landfall,” UAlbany Center of Excellence scientist Nick Bassill said. “Over the last week, this has changed a lot.”
Weather scientists and meteorologists are able to predict the challenges and the trajectory of this hurricane and everything weather related with the help of many different instruments like a weather balloon.
“When we launch it, it’s a couple feet wide, and then as it goes up into the atmosphere, it expands as there’s less pressure up there,” Cebulko.
With the balloon, NWS officials are able to predict the weather. With a weather instrument attacked to the balloon, it will help models forecasting the hurricane and make a more accurate forecast.
“Eventually, it gets very large,” Cebulko explained. “Ten, 20, 30 feet wide.”
It will go up about 100,000 ft. gathering data such as temperature and the direction of the wind.
“If we want to make weather predictions, we need to know what’s going on here,” Bassill said. “One of the ways we do that is through balloon launches, which allows to as the balloon slowly rises to get observations at every level.”
The NWS launches a balloon usually every 12 hours, but when severe weather arrives, they typically launch one very seven hours.