TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT) – Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Topeka are working to predict what Hurricane Irma will do next. The Topeka station is one of around 60 offices across the country sending extra weather balloons in to the atmosphere.
“It will rise through the atmosphere up to about 120,000 feet over the next hour or so and it’s going to transmit data back to us through it’s radio, the box we tied on to the balloon. Basically we’re looking to provide extra data for computer models,” said Chad Omitt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka.
The National Weather service in Topeka is launching a weather balloon every six hours, twice their normal rate. Omitt said the balloons rise to around 120,000 feet before they pop and head back to the ground. During that time, they are sending data back around once every second.
“We really need to know exactly where the storm is going to be. We don’t want to unnecessarily alarm anybody or alarm any emergency managers to act for the calls for evacuation when it may or may not become necessary,” said Shawn Byrne, another meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka.
Along with Hurricane Irma, meteorologists are also tracking Jose, a smaller hurricane in the wake of Hurricane Irma.