NASA studies conditions that make storms intensify

Published 9:22 pm Thursday, September 2, 2010

NASA scientists are flying into Hurricane Earl to gather data about what makes some tropical storms intensify while others fizzle.

The flight is part of a six-week NASA research mission to collect information that could help forecasters accurately predict how strong a hurricane will be.

Forecasters have gotten better at predicting where a storm will go, but they still are puzzled by what makes some storms strengthen into destructive hurricanes.

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A former passenger airliner converted into a flying laboratory took off Thursday from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, bound for Earl as it spins towards the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

NASA also is flying a second airborne lab and an unmanned drone as part of the mission.