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National Weather Service in GA to release extra weather balloons ahead of next storm

The storm is forecast to be a major hurricane nearing the U.S. Tuesday or Wednesday.
Credit: staphy - stock.adobe.com
A white weather balloon is ascending into the blue sky. Picture was taken during a 3-month Antarctic research expedition.

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. — Editors note: The video above is coverage from earlier on Friday about all the storm systems  

To help create the most accurate forecast for Tropical Storm Ian, our local National Weather Service in Peachtree City will release two extra weather balloons each day starting Saturday. They'll join a greater effort that includes nearly 50 National Weather Service Offices in the eastern 2/3 of the country.

Weather balloons are filled with hydrogen and can travel 90 to 100 thousand feet into the atmosphere and take important measurements, including temperatures, humidity, pressure and wind speed. 

Sam Marlow, a forecaster with the National Weather Service Office in Peachtree City, said this information could be critical for a more accurate forecast: "What we're looking for is to give us some extra data to know the conditions out ahead of the storm before it comes further north. That can be put into weather models to give a more accurate outcome of where the storm is going to go." 

RELATED: Tropical Storm Ian | Latest Model Data, Forecast Track

Weather Balloons are normally released twice daily, but ahead of weather events with significant impact potential, getting that data more often can help get a better analysis of the setup and possible storm tracks. Why they're so critical for tropical systems is because other bigger weather systems steer tropical systems.

In anticipation of Tropical Depression Nine, these balloon releases will occur daily at 2 a.m., 8 a.m., 2 p.m., and 8 p.m.

The Peachtree City Weather Forecast Office serves most of the state of Georgia, from the Tennessee state line down to Americus in southwest Georgia and Vidalia out east. They are responsible for issuing local severe and winter warnings and are important partners for the 11 Alive Storm Trackers.

RELATED: Tropical Update: Ian, Fiona, Gaston and Hermine



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