Drones could increase tornado warnings by 45 minutes

DALLAS — The AUVSI Xponential conference is taking off in Dallas, bringing together “all things unmanned” like drones. And a big part of the expo is diving deep into everything unmanned vehicle can do. One of those topics discussed today hits close to home: weather forecasting.

“We primarily focused on the work we’re doing with the national severe storms lab and the national weather service and NOAA to collect severe weather data,” said Professor Brian Argrow, from the University of Colorado Boulder.

And drones, or UAS’s, can go where others can’t to get that vital data.

“What UAS can do, small ones anyway, is allow you to get into the storm and make in situ measurements, particularly in downdrafts,” said Argrow. “Areas where balloons can’t penetrate and you don’t want to send manned aircraft.”

The advancements made by these unmanned fliers could prove to be lifesavers, expanding the warning time for tornados, like the one that just hit Canton, big time.

“The goal is to increase tornado warning time from what it is now which is about 14 minutes to an hour,” Argrow said.

Yeah, 46 more minutes to get to shelter and prep an emergency response. The work with these drones could change meteorology forever, and make us all rest a bit easier here in stormy North Texas.