Seasoned weather watchers joke that if you ever see Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore in town, you might as well evacuate. The famous weather anchor and reporter goes straight to the heart of impending disasters such as hurricanes.
Now, anglers have a new bellwether for dangerous sea conditions — EMILY (Emergency Integrated Life Saving Lanyard). NOAA added EMILY, a 65-inch, watertight, unmanned surface vehicle, to its cadre of research tools this spring, just prior to the beginning of the 2012 hurricane season (June 1- Nov. 30).
NOAA says scientists will send EMILY into the center of tropical storms and hurricanes to take pictures and collect surface data such as barometric pressure, air and sea-surface temperatures, salinity, wind speed and direction. They hope that data bridges a current gap in critical information about storms.
However, EMILY — built by a company called Hydronalix — is also expected to help monitor national marine sanctuaries and assist with choppy-water rescues off beaches. The vessel is equipped with a satellite link, camera, battery, remote-guidance system, various sensors and a gasoline motor and can run for up to 10 days.
So, if you ever see a 5-plus-foot, red torpedo-looking boat plastered with NOAA stickers, head to the nearest port. And if Jim Cantore meets you at the dock, keep heading inland.