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Hurricane Season 2006: Alberto
06.12.06
 
GOES Captures Alberto's Flight Northward

Still from GOES movie of Tropical Depression Alberto on June 14, 2006.
Click on image to view movie.


This movie (above) of Tropical Depression Alberto was created with images from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, (GOES-12), which is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The animation begins June 12 and runs through June 14 at 1:45 p.m. EDT (17:45 UTC), at which time Alberto was near Raleigh, North Carolina. Alberto was headed into the mid-Atlantic coast by the evening of June 14th.

Alberto Moving Into Atlantic Ocean

At 11:00 a.m. EDT, Alberto's center was near latitude 35.0 north and longitude 79.5 west or about 70 miles southwest of Raleigh, North Carolina. The depression is moving toward the northeast near 23 mph and this motion is expected to continue over the next 24 hours with an increase in forward speed.

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 km/hr) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours as the remnants of Alberto move into the Atlantic. Estimated minimum central pressure is 1004 millibars.

Storm total rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum amounts to 5 inches are possible through this evening from central and eastern North Carolina into southeastern Virginia and the lower eastern shore of Maryland. Movie credit: NOAA



MODIS Image of Tropical Storm Alberto
+ Higher resolution image


This image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite on June 13, 2006, at 12:05 p.m. EDT. Alberto had an obvious spiral structure, but the main area of clouds were located ahead of the storm to the north and east. The storm was just half an hour from making landfall near Adams Beach, roughly 50 miles from Tallahassee. Sustained winds were near 50 miles per hour around the time the image was captured, according to the University of Hawaii’s Tropical Storm Information Center. Rainfall totals were expected to be as high as 8 inches in Georgia and the Carolinas. Credit: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response Team, Jesse Allen



MODIS Instrument Image of Tropical Storm Alberto

Tropical Storm Alberto formed as a tropical depression early in the morning on June 10, 2006, in the Yucatan Channel. This narrow gap of ocean lies between the western end of Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico. Alberto gradually gathered strength as it took a slow track northward into the Gulf. By early morning on June 11, wind strength within the storm crossed the critical threshold of 39 knots (70 kilometers per hour; 45 miles per hour), the minimum wind speed necessary to become classified as a tropical storm and hence earn a name. Thus Alberto became the first named storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season. Alberto briefly flirted with hurricane status as wind speeds came close to the necessary 64 knots (118 km/hr; 74 mph), but Alberto remained a strong tropical storm as of the morning of June 13, and it was projected to weaken as the storm system comes ashore in northern Florida.

This photo-like image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite on June 12, 2006, at 2:35 p.m. local time (18:35 UTC). The tropical storm did have hints of a spiral structure, but as in earlier satellite images, the bulk of the clouds and rainfall from the storm were east of the storm’s center. This large mass of clouds in the image appears over the Florida panhandle and north into mainland Florida, while the wind circulation center is located roughly 200 kilometers (120 miles) to the west of Tampa.

Sustained winds in the storm system were estimated to be around 110 kilometers per hour (70 miles per hour) around the time the image was captured, according to the University of Hawaii’s Tropical Storm Information Center. However, the less-than-hurricane-strength winds did not mean that Alberto posed no significant hazards. Rainfall totals from the storm were predicted to be between 12 to 25 centimeters (5 to 10 inches), and the storm center was also expected to spawn tornadoes once Alberto crossed land. Drought-stricken Florida was looking for rain, but the heavy downpours predicted were also causing concerns about local flooding.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.


Tropical Storm Alberto, Seen Through New 'Eyes'

top, two views of tropical storm Alberto from NOAA satellites, and bottom, a CloudSat image taken at about the same time

NASA's new CloudSat satellite captured its first tropical storm, Alberto, as it spun over the Gulf of Mexico the morning of June 12, 2006. This image comparison shows how CloudSat "sees" such storms differently than conventional weather satellites. The CloudSat image (bottom) is compared with images obtained at nearly the same time from two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service satellites that are mainstays for monitoring the development and movement of tropical cyclones: the NEXRAD storm detection radar, which maps out precipitation patterns for that portion of the storm that comes into its range, and the GOES-12 (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) infrared imager, which is presented here to indicate the scale of the storm and the location where CloudSat overflies it. CloudSat sees the storm outside the range of NEXRAD and provides significantly greater vertical detail compared to the GOES satellite. NEXRAD, for example, can only see out to about 402 kilometers (250 nautical miles), and so could not see the portion of the storm that CloudSat was flying over at the time. GOES-12 only sees the very top of the clouds, and can not provide any detail about what is being seen beneath the cloud tops.

The CloudSat data show a storm that reaches about 16 kilometers (10 miles) in height and extends perhaps 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) in scale. The green line at the bottom of the CloudSat image is the radar echo of the Earth's surface. Where this line starts to disappear (change color) under the storm is where the rainfall is heaviest. Very heavy rainfall can be seen over about 400 kilometers (249 miles) of the satellite track. Cirrus clouds can also been seen out ahead of the storm (near letter A) -- this is also evident in the GOES-12 image. A smaller thunderstorm is visible in the CloudSat image under that cirrus cloud cover near the letter A. That storm is completely hidden from view in the GOES infrared image.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University/NOAA

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Tropical Storm Alberto Begins 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Takes Aim at Florida

It didn't take very long for the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season to get underway with the early arrival of Tropical Storm Alberto over the weekend. Alberto became the first tropical storm of the season on Sunday morning, the June 11, 2006 in the south-central Gulf of Mexico. On average the first named storm of the Atlantic season forms by the beginning of July. Typically only one out of every four seasons has a named storm this early. Last years incredible hurricane season also began early when Tropical Storm Arlene formed on the June 9.

TRMM captured this image of Tropical Storm Alberto on June 11, 2006. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (known as TRMM) was placed into service in November of 1997. From its low-earth orbit, TRMM has been providing valuable images and information on tropical cyclones around the Tropics using a combination of passive microwave and active radar sensors, including the first precipitation radar in space. This set of images was taken at 19:42 UTC (2:42 pm CDT) June 11, 2006 soon after Alberto had become a tropical storm.

The first image shows the horizontal distribution of rain intensity (top down view) as viewed by the TRMM satellite. Rain rates in the center swath are from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), and rain rates in the outer swath are from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The rain rates are overlaid on infrared (IR) data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS). A tropical storm symbol marks the center of Alberto. TRMM confirms that Alberto was poorly organized. The low-level center of circulation (denoted by the tropical storm symbol) is displaced well to the southwest of the heavier rain areas (darker red and green areas). In fact, there is essentially no rain in the immediate vicinity of the low-level center. This highly asymmetric structure is a result of wind shear. At the time of this image, Alberto was a weak tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

A 3D image of Tropical Storm Alberto captured by the TRMM satellite on June 11, 2006. With its ability to look at precipitation structures in the vertical, the TRMM PR was able to provide this second image, a 3D depiction of Alberto. This image is concurrent with the previous image. The PR shows a couple of tall towers (red surfaces) approaching 15 km that are associated with heavy rain areas well away from the low-level center. The presence of such towers can be an indication of intensification when they are near the storm's core, which at the time was not the case with Alberto.

After these images were taken, however, the inhibiting wind sheer decreased, allowing Alberto to become better organized. The circulation center reformed closer to the convection, and on June 12, Alberto strengthened to a strong tropical storm with maximum sustained winds reported at 70 mph by NHC, just below hurricane strength. The system is continuing to track off to the northeast towards the northwestern Gulf coast of Florida where a hurricane watch is in effect.TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Images produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC).



Tropical Storm Alberto May Be Season's First Hurricane

Terra satellite image of Tropical Storm Alberto on June 12, 2006.

Tropical Storm Alberto formed as an unnamed tropical depression early in the morning on June 10, 2006, in the Yucatan Channel in the Gulf of Mexico. By early June 11, Alberto became at tropical storm with 39 mph sustained winds.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Monday, June 12, 2006, Alberto had gained strength with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph with higher gusts, and it is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane in the next 24 hours. According to the National Hurricane Center, Alberto has been interacting with the warm Gulf of Mexico loop (ocean) current, which has likely contributed to its intensification.

At 11 a.m. the center of Tropical Storm Alberto was near latitude 27.1 north...longitude 85.9 west or about 190 miles (300 km) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida and about 220 miles (355 km) southwest of Cedar Key, Florida.

Alberto is moving toward the north-northeast near 7 mph (11 km/hr) and this general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours. The minimum central pressure was 997 millibars.

What This Means for Florida and Southeastern Georgia

The National Hurricane Center's latest report noted that along with the heavy rainfall, the greatest concern with Alberto is likely to be storm surge flooding along an extensive portion of the Florida gulf coast. Dr. Richard Pasch, Hurricane Forecaster noted that a strong tropical storm or a category one hurricane can produce a significant surge in this area.

Coastal storm surge flooding of 8 to 10 feet above normal tide levels can be expected over a large portion of the warning area.

Storm total rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts to 10 inches are possible through Tuesday across portions of central and northern Florida and southeastern Georgia, mainly along and to the right of the track of Alberto.

This photo-like image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite on June 11, 2006, at 12:20 p.m. local time (16:20 UTC) when Alberto was a weaker tropical storm. Alberto had a rough spiral structure in this satellite image, but there was little other evidence of a well-developed storm. Sustained winds in the storm system were estimated to be still around 45 mph (70 km/hr) around the time the image was captured, according to the University of Hawaii's Tropical Storm information center. Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory, Jesse Allen

For earlier images of Alberto, visit + Tropical Storm Alberto For more information on Tropical Storm Alberto visit the: + National Hurricane Center


QuickScat image of Tropical Storm Alberto

Tropical Storm Alberto formed as a tropical depression early in the morning on June 10, 2006, in the Yucatan Channel. This narrow gap of ocean lies between the western end of Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico. Alberto gradually gathered strength as it took a slow track northward into the Gulf. By early morning on June 11, wind strength within the storm crossed the critical threshold of 39 knots (70 kilometers per hour; 45 miles per hour), the minimum wind speed necessary to become classified as a tropical storm and hence earn a name. Thus Alberto became the first named storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season.

This data visualization shows Alberto in the early stages of formation. The image depicts wind speed in color and wind direction with small barbs. White barbs point to areas of heavy rain. The highest wind speeds, shown in purple, are offset some distance from the center of the storm, which is not typical. The data were obtained by NASA’s QuikSCAT satellite on June 10, 2006 at 23:40 UTC (7:40 p.m. local time). At that time, Alberto had just achieved tropical storm status. The wind direction barbs show that Alberto’s center, around which the winds swirled, was located just off the Yucatan Peninsula, even though the strongest winds were over western Cuba.

QuikSCAT employs a scatterometer, which sends pulses of microwave energy through the atmosphere to the ocean surface, and measures the energy that bounces back from the wind-roughened surface. The energy of the microwave pulses changes depending on wind speed and direction, giving scientists a way to monitor wind around the world. This technique does not work over land, which is why there are no measurements over Cuba and the Yucatan in the image shown here.

NASA image courtesy of David Long, Brigham Young University, on the QuikSCAT Science Team, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.




First Named Storm of 2006 Season

NOAA's GOES satellite took this image of Tropical Storm Alberto on June 11, 2006.

According to the National Hurricane Center Tropical Storm Alberto is about 400 miles west of Key West, Fla. Despite the tropical storm gaining strength it is poorly organized with maximum sustained winds of 40 knots gusting to 50 knots. Alberto is not likely to strengthen much further and the main hazard associated with this storm is heavy rainfall. Credit: NOAA. For more information on Tropical Storm Alberto visit the: + National Hurricane Center