Tropical cyclones (i.e., hurricanes) are relatively common and highly energetic engines of destruction. At least two-three make landfall in the U.S. each year, causing loss of life and extensive damage. Emergency management (EM) and emergency response (ER) personnel have an urgent need to understand what is happening to support decision management and direct action before, during, and after landfall, but the conditions associated with a hurricane are detrimental to most information collection methods. Flight regimes within a hurricane are perilous, but flight above the hurricane (above 60,000 ft) should be relatively safe. Airborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) flying at these altitudes in a "Storm Rider" mission may be able to fill the information shortfalls, providing rapid and accurate characterization of the environment (RACE). "Normal" SAR, polarimetric SAR, and interferometric SAR (IFSAR) offer a number of urgently needed remote sensing capabilities that can provide information to support EM and ER requirements. Timely and detailed imagery can support impact and damage analysis for critical sites, structures, and infrastructure nodes and links and monitor the extent and nature of storm surge and precipitation-induced flooding. IFSAR provides a means of rapidly creating high-resolution digital elevation models to support emergency mapping requirements, damage assessment, and hydrologic modeling. High-altitude long-endurance aircraft technology is advancing rapidly. SAR sensors trends are toward higher resolutions and greater accuracy in smaller packages, and processing speeds and techniques are making more information available in a shorter amount of time. The state-of-the-art for both supports producing a proof-of-concept system today. A notional concept would consist of a fleet of nine aircraft (called Storm Hawks) equipped with C-band and UHF-band quad-polarized SARs. These could support two hurricane events simultaneously. Ground processing would be accomplished at a remote ground site jointly managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and data disseminated through existing channels to the end-users, with a potential to produce relevant and actionable information in near real-time (e.g., within tens of minutes from when the data was collected). The Storm Hawks could also support a wide variety of other DHS remote sensing and EM missions and scientific endeavors when not needed for the Storm Rider mission.