By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The sooner hurricanes can be predicted, the better.

A new weather satellite could help increase the lead time.

On the ground, NOAA’s satellite named Goes-16 looked impressive, but what it sees from 22,000 miles up is even more impressive.

It’s high resolution color imagery is the sharpest of any weather satellite.

“There will be a significant improvement to the global models with this new capability,” says NOAA researcher Dr. Steven Goodman.

Models are critical for predicting where hurricanes will hit, which buys time to get out of the way.

Goes-16, which has been parked in orbit above the U.S. while undergoing testing, will be moved over to the East Coast, but it will see far more than hurricanes.

Nor’easters will be seen in finer detail as they form and spread.

It also has the ability to see lightning in dangerous thunderstorms, tracking it faster than radar. That’s important because even if the storms aren’t directly overhead, strikes from a distance do happen.

“Even though the thunderstorm’s cells are shown to be tens of miles away,it’s not a zero risk,” Goodman says.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a sharper picture could make threatening weather more real.

Forecasters like WJZ‘s Bob Turk will soon be getting the new images.

“People will be able to personalize the risk much better because it’s so vibrant and real in front of them and again that will help save lives,” Goodman says.

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