Way back in 2005, I helped Mark Sudduth at HurricaneTrack deploy the first ever fully-functioning internet streaming storm case in advance of hurricane Katrina in Deerfield Beach, FL.
Since then, the remote streaming cameras and meteorological equipment contained within these cases have become invaluable tools in our drive to generate data to document, measure and understand the impact of hurricanes on people and property. They have been successfully deployed in Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Ike, Isaac, Sandy and almost every US hurricane since 2004.
However, these cases are also very, very heavy and occupy a lot of truck space. Batteries can power the cases for up to 24 hours, but they aren’t easy to lug around, and limitations with recording equipment means we often have to turn the cameras on at the last possible moment, closer to landfall than we would like.
As we get closer to the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, Mark is working hard at getting the cases smaller, drawing less power and most importantly, faster and safer to deploy. The impact of those changes could be huge. For example, we could deploy three times as many cases as before, because we can carry more with us. That would also help us not only document primary impacts of storms like we do today (for example, storm surge), but also provide us with additional data and perspectives that would not have made the priority list with more limited resources. Mark has written a detailed explanation of the process and what he’d doing to improve the cases…just follow the link below for more.