Often times, cities and towns in the wake of tornadoes only have around fifteen minutes to prepare for a tornado touch-down in their region. But a group of Oklahoma State University engineering students is using data from unmanned aerial vehicles to make better tornado forecasts and give citizens more time to take cover, according to USA Today. The drones’ wing sensors can collect data on a storm’s pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind speeds to determine whether or not a thunderstorm will develop into a tornado.
According to the article, aerospace and engineering professor Jamey Jacob says there’s currently no effective way to measure such a prediction. The drones will weight a mere 35 pounds each and will be able to fly for up to 12 hours at a time. Despite the occurence of “tornado seasons” in the Midwest each year that devastates many towns and cities, there is still a big lack of data about how and when a tornado forms, according to the article.