Tracking by range

05/25/2010 2:51 PM

05/27/2010 1:32 PM


Scientists rely on weather satellites for surveillance throughout a hurricane's lifetime. Satellites, however, generally can't see below clouds. For that, forecasters rely on other weather-observing equipment.

Polar Orbiting Satellites (POES)

Orbits the earth daily to help forecasters see the cloud cover and a storm's location.

Geostationary Satellites (GOES)

Stationed the same spot 23,000 miles above the equator, they transmit continuous storm images.


Weather balloons

Launched from sites in the U.S. and the Caribbean to measure wind speed, air pressure, humidity, temperature and the air steering currents that can alter the course of a storm.

Weather buoys

Moored weather stations that broadcast conditions at sea, such as ocean temperature, needed to predict a storm's strength.


Doppler radar

Observes a storm when it is about 250 miles from land. Radars help forecasters measure wind speed and precipitation and can detect tornadoes spawned by hurricanes.


Automated Surface Observing Systems at airports measure wind, temperature, humidity and pressure when the storm makes landfall.

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