The August Almanac
EnvironmentPeak hurricane season begins this month; areas in the paths of storms may be better prepared this year than in the past, owing to the introduction of a new jet aircraft to help forecast the track and landfall of hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration--the government agency responsible for issuing public
warnings about hurricanes--will be using a specially modified business jet, a high-tech supplement to the agency's other two hurricane-surveillance planes. Able to survey a wider area and gather information from the periphery of storms, the new jet will focus on the "steering currents" of hurricanes--the forces around them that determine how they will move. Officials predict that the accuracy of 24- to 48-hour hurricane-track predictions will improve by 20 percent. More-accurate forecasts should not only save lives and property but also reduce the tens of millions of dollars spent each year as a result of exaggerated hurricane warnings.