Figuring out where hurricanes will go at any given point after they form is more of an art than a science – although experts are getting better and better at accurately forecasting a hurricane track every year that goes by.
The latest development in predicting where a tropical storm or hurricane will go? Interestingly enough, it involves a common household substance: soap.
Researchers at the University of Bordeaux in France have begun using soap bubbles as a way to model the potential path of hurricanes during their life cycles. The stumbled upon this discovery when they heated soap bubbles and observed swirling patterns that looked virtually identical to a hurricane formation.
They then created a model that predicted the direction the soap bubble would take with a fair degree of accuracy. While it’s not perfect – no model is, unfortunately – it offered a pretty interesting way to use the physics of vortexes – what a soap bubble and hurricane both are, basically – to predict future tracks.
It’s not perfect; for one, hurricanes are a lot more complex than soap bubbles. Plus, the model isn’t very helpful for mature storms that are advanced and have gotten pretty close to the U.S. They’re more useful for storms after they have formed and are still meandering their way across the Atlantic or Caribbean.
Still, I’m impressed with just how much hurricane experts have progressed when it comes to predicting where hurricanes will land. Forecasts these days are a lot better than they were even 10 years ago, which means we receive more advance notice that gives us time to prepare.
So far, we’re a few weeks into this year’s hurricane season and have been lucky enough to avoid any major storms in southwest Florida. That may not hold up, though, which is why I stress the importance of getting proper home hurricane protection. Residents of Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Estero, Captiva Island, Sanibel Island, or Marco Island should prepare today. Don’t wait on soap bubble forecasting; click here for a FREE estimate today!
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