FIRST ALERT: Saildrone captures amazing video of Fiona raging in the Atlantic

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2022 at 4:14 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Dramatic video shows the intensity of Fiona well off the coast of the Carolinas.

This morning, Saildrone captured amazing new video from inside Category 4 Hurricane Fiona. Saildrone, in partnership with NOAA, has 7 ocean drones stationed in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico this season to collect information that is critical to understanding what drives hurricane rapid intensification.

In a press release this afternoon, Saildrone stated that “Saildrone Explorer SD 1078 was directed into the midst of Hurricane Fiona, which is currently on a path northward in the Atlantic Ocean and is predicted to impact Bermuda on Thursday night and the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on Friday. SD 1078 is battling 50-foot waves and winds measured over 100 mph to collect critical scientific data.”

“Inside the storm, SD 1078 is sailing at sustained speeds over 9 mph. At one moment, it reached a peak speed of 39.7 mph while surfing down a massive wave. The vehicle is currently 315 nm southwest of Bermuda.”

“The seven saildrones are a part of a larger NOAA endeavor to understand hurricane intensification. NOAA also has underwater gliders, surface drifters, profiling floats, and aerial assets to collectively gain deeper insight than ever before into the development of hurricanes. NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft and weather buoys gather an array of operational weather observations that are essential to hurricane forecasts.”


Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partnered up with Saildrone Inc. and came up with the idea of using saildrones.

NOAA using more saildrones this year
NOAA using more saildrones this year(WMBF)

These saildrones are unmanned vessels that can remotely sail the seas of the Atlantic Ocean. They’re 33 feet long and 24 feet high. The remote-controlled solar-powered drone can remain unattended for up to a year at sea.

These saildrones not only provide us with video of the storm but also collect vital data such as ocean temperatures and wind speeds to give us a better understanding of how hurricanes truly work.

Last year, NOAA tested five sail drones for hurricane season to prove their durability.

One of the drones successfully sailed through the eye of Hurricane Sam, a Category 4 storm with 100-foot waves and roaring winds at 140 mph, while also sending back crucial data to NOAA, and the first ever pictures from the ocean of what the fury of such a powerful storm actually looked like.

SPECIAL SECTION | WMBF First Alert Hurricane Center

While those drones are cruising the seas, and hurricane hunters are patrolling the skies, remember your First Alert Weather App this hurricane season. The ONLY local weather app to provide real-time video updates, the latest forecast tracks and street level radar. In the weather center.

Download the WMBF First Alert Weather App
Download the WMBF First Alert Weather App(WMBF)

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