>> For these hurricane hunters, flying into the eye of a storm is all about getting hard to find data. While satellite images and other high tech advances have made it easier to predict where a storm may go, forecasters still struggle to determine a crucial factor in deciding emergency measures and evacuations.
How powerful a storm will be. Reuters John Herskowitz explains.>> To predict the intensity of the storm, you really have to get inside the storm, the eye wall of the center where most of the energy is. And to do this, you have to either fly in one of these hurricane tracker airplanes, have a sea-based buoy and have the storm pass overhead.
>> Being able to predict a storm's power helps to know if the hurricane will just shake branches and rattle windows, or wreak havoc in its path. Maria, for example, one in a series of devastating hurricanes last year, killed over an estimated 4,000 people in the Caribbean, knocked out the electric grid and caused $90 billion in damage in Puerto Rico.
Some climate scientists say warming sea and air temperatures are creating more violent storms, and the 2017 hurricane season saw a great deal of rapid intensification. One project in the works to help improve predictions is the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, or CYGNSS.>> It's an eight satellite constellation, that was launched with the help of NASA in 2016.
The satellites' flight are at relatively low orbit, which puts them closer to the storm, with the constellation, they pass over storms more often. They have a better ability to look in storms so they can gather wind speed, the energy that's being generated by the storms.>> Researchers say CTGNSS could be fully operational next year, but challenges still remain on how to interpret and apply that data to better predict intensity.