Hurricane Laura is a disaster. The storm made landfall Wednesday night as a Category 4 hurricane and has already killed at least one person. Residents of Texas and Louisiana unable to evacuate were hit hard. But as the storm heads inland from the Gulf of Mexico, people are watching its progress closely inland. Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Flight simulator includes a live weather system, which essentially models Laura in the game world. Microsoft has partnered with the Swiss weather service Meteoblue, dividing the game world into 2 million blocks of 100 square miles, each with its own simulated weather system based on real world data. The result is something quite remarkable.
Simply put, images of Hurricane Laura from Microsoft Flight Simulator is both terrifying and impressive. It is also much safer than traditional forms to observe these types of intense storms firsthand.
Microsoft Flight simulator pulls a lot of data from the real world which sometimes leads to glitches and glitches as the game struggles to pull it all together into a cohesive whole. Weather data is an exception, however. The game does not place the individual clouds in the game where they are in the actual sky, but instead performs a sophisticated data-driven simulation. The result: incredibly breathtaking images of a virtual version of the same storm.
This thread from Alex, a Twitter user and video editor, shows more stunning photos of Hurricane Laura from a distance. It’s worth reading the entire thread to see his entire gallery of images, including one taken at such a high angle his plane needed to be de-iced.
Alex also noted that he was not alone. Flight simulator also extracts live flight data from the real world. While there were no other actual flights to the Storm Zone, there were many other players in the game who were investigating the Hurricane with him.
AFAIK all green points are from other players.
I feel like MS Flight Sim is going to create a new kind of game event where people trace IRL weather events in the game to experience them.
It’s so amazing that this stuff is possible. pic.twitter.com/ZBws2qFIbc
– Technically Alex ✊ ️ (@TechnicalDIY) August 27, 2020
Obviously, you shouldn’t be using a flight simulator – or a game of any kind – to watch for dangerous storms like this if they attack you. Hurricane Laura’s progress can be checked through the National Hurricane Center website, which displays a map, relevant statistics, and safety information.