NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- When you're dealing with the water you're dealing with the weather. And that's especially true when a rescue is underway.
"Weather is very important to us," said Senior Chief Larry Beatty.
Important to the entire process from beginning to end.
"What's happening now, what can we expect ... how could that affect a mission that might be happening three or four hours from now."
Always in flux, weather can be difficult to gauge. And when storms crop up it can be difficult to handle.
"Imagine what its like if you are in the water in a boat in that type of weather," Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Steve MacLaughlin said. "You are talking about wind is so strong it is moving the actual water beyond the place that gravity wants to take it."
But with eyes to the sky and expert forecasting much can be done to prepare.
"The most important thing for the coast guard is to be aware of current conditions in the water," says Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Erica Martin. "Understanding things like high tide and abnormalities that may be going on."
"We have that plan," Beatty said. "It's part of our risk management assessment.
And technology is an important tool to make it happen.
"At the end of the day we want to know exactly where we should start our search."
Senior Chief Beatty helped develop the software used to plot and pinpoint water searches, creating drift models to assess how conditions can impact a search. A process that used to take hours for results now takes just a matter of keystrokes.
"This program will take 10,000 of those dots (each dot represents a person) and do a drift and do it in 90 seconds.
"And again as the case evolves and some other things change we can manipulate these patterns. We want to capture as many of these particles as we can and as quick as it can cause that drives up the success of our mission."
Important because time is of the essence when someone is in the water.
"Our body can only resist cold waters for a certain amount of time, so that's really the big thing," Martin said. "Also exhaustion. Trying to stay afloat, your excitement and anxiety, all that good stuff could get the best of you."
"Every minute, every second can make the difference," said Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Gil Simmons.
It's a scenario the Guard knows all too well.
"The biggest successes are when folks are prepared," said Beatty. "Those are the type of things that again will change the outcome of any solution."
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