As Hurricane Florence Looms, Drone Pilots Prepare for Recovery

More than a million people have been told to leave their homes, get away from the coast and low lying areas, and get to safety, as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas and Virginia. But a new group of temporary, risk-taking, residents is getting ready to ride out the storm. Drone pilots are watching forecasts, and staging in areas where they’ll be safe, but useful, ready to rush into action as soon as possible, as a now vital part of the disaster response.

“When we’re pre-deployed, we have our rations—it’s an ongoing joke of beef jerky and pretzels,” says Hadley Doyle-González, who runs SMG Drones, in Palm Beach, Florida. “We have a ridiculous amount of batteries,” she says. “We need to be able to fly for 24 hours with no power.” During Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida this time last year, she was deployed to Naples, and

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