Verizon Frontline Partners with NOAA to Enhance Storm Damage Assessment with Drone Technology

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has entered into a three-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Verizon Frontline to refine the use of uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) for assessing storm damage. This initiative aims to provide rapid and accurate damage assessments following severe weather events such as tornadoes and hurricanes.

Verizon Frontline will deploy its drone technology to capture high-resolution imagery of areas affected by storms, providing crucial data to NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Severe Storms Laboratory. This imagery will assist in post-storm damage assessments and contribute to research aimed at understanding tornado behavior and improving severe weather warnings.

Tim Oram, Meteorological Services Branch Chief at NWS Southern Region Headquarters, highlighted the significance of the partnership. “This collaboration demonstrates the potential of using drone technology to significantly enhance the services provided by the NWS, ultimately aiding in our response to disasters,” he stated. The project will focus on the NWS Southern Region and involves the National Severe Storms Laboratory.

Michael Adams, associate vice president for federal civilian services at Verizon, also emphasized the benefits of the partnership. “By leveraging our advanced network and technology, we aim to pioneer new strategies for gathering and disseminating crucial imagery. This will enhance our collective response efforts and help mitigate the impact of severe storms on U.S. communities,” he explained.

Chris Sanders from the Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team pointed out the advantages of UAS over traditional methods. “Following a crisis, the initial imagery available is often from satellites, which may not offer the best resolution. Our goal with NOAA is to provide high-resolution imagery much faster, enhancing the support to emergency management and public safety agencies,” Sanders noted.

This partnership reflects NOAA’s ongoing commitment to collaborating with private sector companies to conduct research and development that advances its mission of understanding and predicting changes in the environment.

The collaboration between Verizon Frontline and NOAA represents a step forward in integrating modern technology into traditional environmental and emergency management practices, aiming to improve outcomes in the wake of natural disasters.