Hurricane Irene Versus Floyd, Better Tracking Technology Today | Weather

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Hurricane Irene Versus Floyd, Better Tracking Technology Today

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Hurricane Irene is following a path similar to Hurricane Floyd in 1999.  Floyd tore through the Bahamas and raked the eastern seaboard, triggering the third largest evacuation in U-S history.

If you lived on the First Coast, then you still remember that traffic jam. "The traffic from Floyd, oh my God, eight hours on the highway," Jacksonville resident Bernetta Lang remembered.

So if Irene is similar to Floyd, why no evacuations in Florida this time around?

MORE: Tracking the Tropics Map

It's because we're better prepared because of improved technology.  In 1999, three days before Floyd hit, satellites could accurately pinpoint the hurricane's path within a 220 mile margin of error.  Now, that's down to plus or minus 120 miles, and the two day forecasts are even more accurate. 

Today, computers can pinpoint Irene's or other hurricanes' paths within 80 miles, half the 160 mile distance of what they could predict during Floyd. 

Which is why we are not being ordered to evacuate, and Bernetta Lang and Kiambe Tunsil can spend their evening enjoying the pier versus trying to escape town.

"You can enjoy it.  But hopefully, if you're smart, you can get your hurricane kit together because November 30 is three months away," Tunsil said.

In 1970, when the Tropical Prediction Center started tracking hurricanes, three days out, they could only predict a hurricane's path within 450 miles.


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