New Satellite Promises Better Tornado, Hurricane Warnings And Predictions

Listen Now
Photo: New Satellite Provides Better Weather Predicitons
A new satellite may be able to provide better predictions of severe weather.

This story first aired on Nov. 17, 2016.

Accurate weather predictions can save lives, whether it's forecasting fire behavior or tracking hurricanes and severe storms. And forecasts are about to improve dramatically, thanks to a satellite built in Colorado.

NASA's GOES-R satellite was built in Littleton by Lockheed Martin. Tim Gasparrini, who runs Lockheed's weather satellite program, said the new satellite represents a "quantum leap" forward, helping provide more frequent monitoring of weather events. The satellite is expected to give better resolution and infrared, which will allow it to detect moisture. It can also look at fire danger and snow pack., as well as lengthen tornado warnings.

Photo: Lockheed Martin GOES-R weather satellite
The GOES-R weather satellite, getting ready for launch.

Had Goes-R been in effect in October, Gasparrini said it might have helped improve predictions of Hurricane Matthew, which led to about 1,000 deaths in Haiti, and another 50 in the United States. The satellite would have been able to determine the storm's category and where it was going to land, perhaps helping with evacuation efforts.

Gasparrini spoke with Colorado Matters host Andrea Dukakis.