NOAA scientists warn 5G signal could hurt hurricane forecasting

Published: October 30, 2019 4:36 PM EDT
Updated: October 31, 2019 8:32 AM EDT

Faster internet for your cell phone is coming. 5G, or fifth-generation, is supposed to bring faster download speeds and response times, but could the technological advance hurt our hurricane forecasting?

Scientists are saying once all the equipment is up and it’s launched nationwide it could take weather forecasting back in time to the 1980s.

In May, Dr. Neil Jacobs, the acting head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), told a congressional committee that 5G technology could take away 77% of the data they get from their weather equipment.

Watch the exchange below:

That means the lead time where forecasters can predict a hurricane’s path could be cut down by 2-3 days.

Dr. Jacobs used 2012’s Superstorm Sandy as an example of what could happen if that same storm hit with 5G technology in place.

He says researchers ran the same model used to help forecast the storm hitting New Jersey and New York.

“The model, which is the most accurate model in the world right now, kept the storm out to sea,” Dr. Jacobs said. “So it’s incredibly important. It’s a critical data set for us.”

He says NOAA, NASA, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are working on a study in order to set appropriate limits on the 5G spectrum to prevent this interference.

MORE: 5G technology is coming, and Miami has a warning for Southwest Florida