Tag Archives: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Here’s the most updated data about Isaac you can find on the Web: received in real time from a Hurricane Hunter’s dropsonde

The following data has just been collected by a dropsonde from a WP-3D Orion (N42RF) currently flying over the Gulf of Mexico to analyse “Isaac”.

In other words, this represents the most updated information about the Tropical Storm you can find on the Internet since it is transmitted in real time by the aircraft.

Indeed, thanks to a reader of my site, I’ve found a site that allows you to live track, not only the NOAA flights, but the USAF WC-130J flights too with realtime weather and dropsonde data.

Here’s the site (just refresh it every now and then to get update info): http://tropicalatlantic.com/recon/live/

And here’s the tutorial: http://tropicalatlantic.com/recon/pages/ge_recon_tutorial/

Dropsonde data:

Product: NOAA Temp Drop (Dropsonde) Message (UZNT13 KWBC)
Transmitted: 27th day of the month at 21:43Z
Aircraft: Lockheed WP-3D Orion (Reg. Num. N42RF)
Storm Number: 09
Storm Name: Isaac (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 28
Observation Number: 07

Part A…

Date: Near the closest hour of 21Z on the 27th day of the month
Highest Mandatory Level For Which Wind Was Reported: 850mb
Coordinates: 26.3N 86.3W
Location: 263 miles (423 km) to the WSW (244°) from Tampa, FL, USA.
Marsden Square: 081 (About)

Level Geo. Height Air Temp. Dew Point Wind Direction Wind Speed
985mb (29.09 inHg) Sea Level (Surface) 27.4°C (81.3°F) 26.3°C (79.3°F) 320° (from the NW) 26 knots (30 mph)
1000mb -132m (-433 ft) This level does not exist in this area of the storm above the surface level.
925mb 560m (1,837 ft) 24.2°C (75.6°F) 24.1°C (75.4°F) 305° (from the NW) 17 knots (20 mph)
850mb 1,300m (4,265 ft) 20.6°C (69.1°F) 19.6°C (67.3°F) 290° (from the WNW) 26 knots (30 mph)

Information About Radiosonde:
– Launch Time: 21:28Z
– About Sonde: A descending radiosonde tracked automatically by satellite navigation with no solar or infrared correction.

Remarks Section…

Splash Location: 26.32N 86.31W
Splash Time:21:31ZRelease Location: 26.33N 86.33W
Release Time:21:28:15ZSplash Location: 26.32N 86.31W
Splash Time:21:31:48ZMean Boundary Level Wind (mean wind in the lowest 500 geopotential meters of the sounding):
– Wind Direction: 310° (from the NW)
– Wind Speed: 24 knots (28 mph)Deep Layer Mean Wind (average wind over the depth of the sounding):
– Wind Direction: 295° (from the WNW)
– Wind Speed: 24 knots (28 mph)
– Depth of Sounding: From 751mb to 985mb

Average Wind Over Lowest Available 150 geopotential meters (gpm) of the sounding:
– Lowest 150m: 159 gpm – 9 gpm (522 geo. feet – 30 geo. feet)
– Wind Direction: 320° (from the NW)
– Wind Speed: 27 knots (31 mph)

Sounding Software Version: AEV 07450

Part B: Data For Significant Levels…

Significant Temperature And Relative Humidity Levels…
Level Air Temperature Dew Point
985mb (Surface) 27.4°C (81.3°F) 26.3°C (79.3°F)
850mb 20.6°C (69.1°F) 19.6°C (67.3°F)
766mb 17.4°C (63.3°F) 16.4°C (61.5°F)
751mb 15.6°C (60.1°F) 15.6°C (60.1°F)
Significant Wind Levels…
Level Wind Direction Wind Speed
985mb (Surface) 320° (from the NW) 26 knots (30 mph)
977mb 320° (from the NW) 28 knots (32 mph)
953mb 305° (from the NW) 21 knots (24 mph)
940mb 305° (from the NW) 23 knots (26 mph)
925mb 305° (from the NW) 17 knots (20 mph)
902mb 295° (from the WNW) 17 knots (20 mph)
879mb 295° (from the WNW) 17 knots (20 mph)
867mb 300° (from the WNW) 20 knots (23 mph)
858mb 280° (from the W) 25 knots (29 mph)
850mb 290° (from the WNW) 26 knots (30 mph)
751mb 290° (from the WNW) 23 knots (26 mph)

Winds at a particular level are peak winds since a dropsonde only records momentary slices of data at each level as it falls through the atmosphere. These winds are not 1 minute sustained. The highest wind observed in the “Significant Wind Levels” section is noted in bold.
Here’s the route currently being flown by the WP-3D:

And here’s the current position of the U.S. Air Force WC-130J:


Watch NOAA weather reconnaissance planes flying inside Tropical Storm "Isaac" in almost real-time

As the center of tropical storm “Isaac” passed south of Key West (at around 5.00 pm local on Aug. 26), moving west-northwest with maximum sustained winds at 60 mph, about 500 flights at Miami International Airport had already been cancelled while 22 F-16s from Florida’s Homestead Air Reserve Base were already moved to Naval Air Station Forth Worth in Texas.

Several NOAA weather reconnaissance missions are currently flying around Isaac. You can follow all of them in almost real time using Flightradar24.com that broadcast their position on a map.

Currently flying north of Cuba (around the Bahamas) are NOAA 42 (Lockheed WP-3D Orion) and NOAA 49 (Gulfstream G-IV), both from MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, coordinated by National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla.

You can track them using this link (be sure to show the cloud layer through the settings button) whereas their daily schedule can be found here.

Screed dump from Flightradar24.com

Both NOAA’s “Hurricane Hunters” are heavily instrumented flying laboratories capable to take atmospheric and radar measurements within tropical cyclones. The NOAA G-IV usually operates at high altitude (its Mode-S shows now FL450 – 45,000 feet) to collect data that is used to predict hurricane tracks and intensity.

The following video shows how those weather reconnaissance missions work.