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Dorothy could have skipped her trip to Oz—if she only had a storm drone.

US meteorologists are working on drone technology to better predict severe weather phenomena, which could save lives and limit property damage.

Scientists are using drones—either specially designed for storms or commercial units fitted with sensing equipment—to develop quicker forecasting. Currently, warning systems can only predict severe storms and tornadoes 14 minutes in advance, leaving Americans and their property vulnerable.

The drones are able to monitor changes in the atmosphere from two to three kilometers above, an area both ground-based instruments and satellites have trouble tracking. This new system could improve storm-warning times by an hour or more, giving people time to stash their stuff and find a safe place to hide.