Latest technology to monitor extreme weather

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Amsterdam, Netherlands (AP) -- New technology is helping to better predict and monitor extreme weather events like this year's Atlantic hurricane season.

The Swiss-based Meteomatics presented a meteo-drone, a flying device equipped with weather sensors to collect data in the first mile of the atmosphere. Courtesy: AP

Weather gadgets are becoming ever more sophisticated, allowing forecasters to warn authorities when a devastating storm is on its way.

Some of the latest items are on show at the Meteorological Technology World Expo in Amsterdam.

Howling winds, deadly floods and fire have pushed the U.S. into an almost an unprecedented year, with weather disasters causing around $1 billion in damages.

Last month Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria cut a path of destruction through the Carribean, Puerto Rico, Mexico and parts of the United States.

Predicting and monitoring these extreme weather events is one of the main focuses of the annual Meteorological Technology World Expo in Amsterdam.

The show features almost 180 exhibitors showcasing the latest weather forecasting and observation technology.

Baron Services is a U.S. company developing what it calls 'Critical Weather Intelligence' using meteorological technologies like radars, satellites and weather sensors to track real-time data that is integrated into visualization software.

Such modelling and weather data is in demand by governments, commercial organizations, the general public and media companies.

Baron Services developed a special product this year called the Hurricane.

Bob Baron, the Chief Product Officer explains how it works: "This has definitely been a dynamic hurricane season. So we are integrating radar data, model data, satellite data and we do a lot very custom (bespoke) work, like the Baron Hurricane Index where we take all kinds of different data. So instead of a decision maker having to look at sea surface temperature and Saharan dust levels and a bunch of different products, we boil that down to a very simple (system), a green means that hurricane is going to weaken, yellow means that hurricane is going to stay the same and red means that hurricane is going to intensify. So it allows them to see over a period of time and the track of a hurricane, how that hurricane is going to change."

UK's FT Technologies is presenting the latest model of its weather sensor FT7 which is said to be resistant to extreme weather conditions.

The weather sensor works using acoustic (ultrasonic) waves that resonates inside the small cavity and measuring the speed and wind direction.

Fred Squire, Director of sales and marketing at the FT Technologies says the FT sensor is extremely strong, meaning it can keep on capturing data in the most extreme weather conditions.

" So, the FT wind sensor's big advantage is its robustness and therefore it can survive in harsh environments and allow weather forecasters and meteorologists to have data available not only before major events but during major events, whether those are typhoons that we have seen recently in the Caribbean or the high wind storms we see in Asia or dust storms that we see in Northern China or even in coastal areas where salt corrosion can badly affect remote weather stations. "

The Swiss-based Meteomatics presented a meteo-drone, a flying device equipped with weather sensors to collect data in the first mile of the atmosphere.

At the moment weather balloons are only method to measure atmospheric changes in this zone.

However, they are expensive, and usually they can be used only once.

In certain areas, drones can collect data daily and send information, or so-called direct measurement readings, to weather centres, explains Martin Fengler, a CEO of Meteomatics.

"The analogy is quite similar to a weather balloon. We are taking direct measurement readings, so-called prognostic variants (whereabouts) like temperature, wind speed, wind direction, air pressure and humidity and go out with that into the short-term forecast and can significantly improve fog forecast and thunderstorm forecast."

The Meteorological Technology World Expo, is being held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 10-12 October 2017.