Hurricanes cause severe damage along the Gulf Coast almost annually. Since two intense hurricanes, Camille and Celia, resulted in severe damage, it became necessary to predict possible damage based on satellite pictures long before ground-based radar is capable of detecting hurricane structure. Presented in this paper is an example of enhanced satellite picture and the extent of hurricane damage assessed by the damaging wind scale proposed by Fujita.
Applications Technology Satellites (ATS) located 22,500 miles above the equator have been taking pictures of the earth at frequent intervals. Since the orbital period of ATS is selected to be the sidereal rotation period of the earth, it is feasible to monitor development of storms continuously during sun-lit hours. An operational satellite SMS/GOES to be launched late in 1973 will carry an infrared sensor, permitting us to monitor severe storms 24 hours a day.
To make the most use of satellite data, pictures can be enhanced so as to depict detailed structure of storms for their prediction and subsequent disaster preparedness.
It is the purpose of this paper to review potential values of geostationary satellite data and to present a method of storm damage assessment based on the F-scale damage categories.
ATS III, located above the equator south of the United States, is sending pictures back to the earth for every 10 to 30 minutes, depending upon storm situations. These pictures have been put together operationally into time-lapse movies by National Hurricane Center at Miami, National Severe Storms Forecast Center at Kansas City, and National Environmental Satellite Service at Suitland, Md. Basic research on the operational application of satellite data has been conducted by SMRP, Satellite and Micrometeorology Research Project, at the University of Chicago in an attempt to solve problems of storm identification and prediction.
Shown in Fig. 1 is a picture of hurricane Camille shortly before her landing near Gulfport, Miss., causing tremendous wind and water damage. As has been well known, the top of a hurricane is covered with a thick cirrus shield which often appears to be a white disc in satellite pictures. Taking place beneath this white disc are high winds and waves coupled with heavy precipitation, resulting sometimes in practically zero visibility.
Thanks for the development of geostationary satellites capable of looking down upon the earth to scan cloud patterns with 2.5-mile resolution at the sub point. We can now trace back all hurricanes to their spawning ground which may be in the Caribbean or the Atlantic or even in West America. The eggs of potential hurricanes can thus be monitored all-the-way to their hatching ground.