As hurricane season advances, the focus of most people is on preparations in advance of a storm. However, some scientists are looking at preventing hurricanes altogether. Human attempts to control the weather are nothing new, but a researcher from the University of Akron at Ohio, professor Arkadii Leonov, has applied for a patent on an interesting method for stopping hurricanes. The plan involves flying F-4 fighter jets around the eye of a hurricane, generating a sonic boom that would disrupt the flow of air within the eye that gives a hurricane strength.
Leonov's idea has been greeted by much skepticism from weather experts. Among them, Meteorologist Steve Lyons from the National Weather Service in Texas. "You'd need so many planes, they wouldn't be able to fly in at the same time together because of turbulence and everything else...they'd be crashing and burning and falling into the ocean," Lyons tells KTRH. Leonov has argued that it wouldn't take that many jets to create the sonic boom. But Lyons says even if you could fly multiple planes into the storm at high speeds, the plan wouldn't necessarily work. "As soon as you tried to modify something in the eye of the hurricane, what you'd modified there would be rapidly replaced by new air that's coming in from the sides," he explains.
Trying to control the weather is great in theory, but Lyons argues there is only one surefire way to combat hurricanes. "Build in a way that either keeps wind from damaging the structure, or build in places where the water's not going to come up and knock it down." He says smart building and preparation are the only things that are proven to mitigate the effects of a hurricane. In the meantime, scientists will continue to research ways to create and prevent certain weather events. Some have even suggested using nuclear weapons to stop hurricanes as they form over the ocean. Lyon says ideas like that are proof that there's still a long way to go. "I think all of us will be dead before we see anybody really modifying weather, and proving that it really works."
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