Broken Weather Satellite May Hamper Hurricane Tracking

September 25, 2012
(10 a.m. EDT) -- The U.S. weather satellite that tracks Atlantic hurricanes is broken and could hamper the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's ability to track hurricanes.

NOAA told the Associated Press that engineers are trying to diagnose the problem after they were forced to shut down the satellite Sunday because of vibrations.

In the meantime the administration is trying to determine how the loss of data usually provided by the satellite will affect "track and intensity forecast quality," NOAA deputy director Scott Smullen told Cruise Critic.

"As hurricanes get closer to the U.S., we get directly measured temperature, moisture and wind data by dropping sondes from the Hurricane Hunters," he said. "When it's most critical to have the wind data, we will have it, and this is the best-quality data."

NOAA meteorologists are filling in missing data by using a spare satellite and with help from a European satellite, the AP reported.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor