ABERDEEN, S.D. - Hurricane Dorian continues to gain strength as it gets closer to Florida. It is now a category four hurricane. But hundreds of miles away, meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Aberdeen are trying to help by collecting data for forecasters in the southeast.
"They're going to start to see the impacts here this weekend; slow moving as it moves towards Florida, resulting in very high rainfall amounts, and then very strong winds when it gets closer to the shoreline," Kari Fleegel said, who is a meteorologist in Aberdeen.
She and other meteorologists there are helping gather data that could affect the hurricane in the coming days.
"The weather service here in Aberdeen, we're helping by producing special soundings to help the forecast trackers at the National Hurricane Center get a better idea of the weather that's coming from the west that's going to impact the track of Hurricane Dorian," Fleegel said.
In order to do this, meteorologists launched several balloons that will provide data specifically in support of forecasting the hurricane.
"To give us a better idea of what's going to be happening, not only today but several days down the road," Fleegel said.
The balloons gather information in real time for about two hours.
"What we're trying to accomplish with launching these balloons is to really refine large scale weather patterns, and specifically wind speeds aloft, and that is going to have influence on the track of the hurricane," said Kelly Serr, who is also a meteorologist in Aberdeen at the National Weather Service.
Normally, the meteorologists in Aberdeen will launch two balloons daily. But for now, they're releasing four while Hurricane Dorian inches closer to Florida.