ATLANTA — For only the second time ever, we're seeing video from the ocean surface inside a major Category 4 hurricane.
The Saildrone Explorer 'SD 1078' captured video from inside Fiona Thursday, just over 300 nautical miles southwest of Bermuda. The video shows the sailing drone navigating over 50-foot waves and clocked winds over 100 miles per hour.
This is Saildrone's fourth mission inside Fiona, each with different drones. During each mission, Saildrone provides real-time data to NOAA that can be used to improve hurricane forecasts and ultimately save more lives. They have seven of these unmanned sailing drones that are designated to tropical systems this season in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. They gather this data around the clock.
"The seven Saildrones are a part of a larger NOAA endeavor to understand hurricane intensification," according to the company. "NOAA also has underwater gliders, surface drifters, profiling floats, and aerial assets to collectively gain deeper insight than ever before into the development of hurricanes. NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft and weather buoys gather an array of operational weather observations that are essential to hurricane forecasts."
It's another piece of new technology or a tool in the toolbox that can collect data in ways that couldn't be collected before.
Fiona is on a path northward and will brush past Bermuda Thursday night. This weekend, the storm is expected to produce significant, historical impacts to the Canadian Maritimes.