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Hurricane Season 2006: Helene (Atlantic)
09.14.06
 
Now Tropical Storm Helene

Hurricane Helene was downgraded to a tropical storm as of Sept. 24 on her northward trek.

TRMM captures this image of Hurricane Helene on September 22, 2006.
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This image, from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (TRMM) shows Hurricane Helene at 1614 UTC (12:14 pm EDT) on September 22 as she was beginning to track off to the northeast through the Central Atlantic and move farther away from the U.S. East Coast. This image show's Helene's center cloud-filled and appearing open, devoid of an eyewall along the southern edge of the center. A mass of moderate (green) to heavy (red) rain wrapped around north of the center and still exhibits good banding (curvature). However, as the system moves over cooler waters, the circulation will slowly begin to spin down in the absence of deep convection near the center. Helene is expected to accelerate off to the northeast into the north-central Atlantic and transition into an extra-tropical low. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Space Agency, JAXA.

The National Hurricane Center issued its final advisory on Tropical Storm Helene on Sun., Sept. 24 at 11:00 a.m. EDT as Helene became "extratropical." Extratropical, means that the storm moved out of the tropics.

At that time, Helene was located around 595 miles west-northwest of the Azores Islands, or at 40.9 north latitude and 37.5 west longitude. Helene was speeding toward the northeast near 21 mph, but was expected to slow in forward speed. Maximum sustained winds were near 70 mph. Estimated minimum central pressure was 970 millibars. Credits: Image: Steve Lang, Goddard Space Flight Center/SSAI; Caption: Rob Gutro, Goddard Space Flight Center



Hurricane Helene Headed to Central North Atlantic Waters for Weekend

Hurricane Helene is on a weekend course into the central North Atlantic Ocean, during Sept. 23 and 24. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Helene is accelerating northeastward over the open waters of the central North Atlantic.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sept. 22, the NHC reported Helene's center near latitude 34.4 north and longitude 54.2 west or about 630 miles east-northeast of Bermuda. Helene was moving toward the northeast near 21 mph and a gradual increase in forward speed was expected. At 11 a.m., Helene's maximum sustained winds were near 85 mph with higher gusts. Gradual weakening was forecast during the next 24 hours through Sat. Sept. 23. Estimated minimum central pressure was 970 millibars.

On Friday, Sept. 22, Rip Current warnings were up for Virginia Beach, Va. and a high risk for rip currents was posted as far north as Ocean City, N.J. due to the wave action caused by Helene as she treks northward.

New England Coasts Being Affected By Helene Generated Surf on Weekend

The Provincetown, Mass. National Weather Service (NWS) issued a high surf advisory for Cape Cod from 10 p.m. EDT on Fri. Sept. 22 to 6 p.m. EDT on Sat. Sept. 23. In a report on Fri. Sept. 22, NWS said "Southeast swells from distant Hurricane Helene have been affecting the southern Mew England coastal waters with swells up to 6 feet east and southeast of Nantucket Island. These swells will gradually build this afternoon and evening (Sept. 22) and will combine with an additional wind generated wave component tonight as southwest winds increase to 10 to 20 knots. Seas are forecast to build to 5 to 8 feet tonight south of the southern New England coast."

NASA's Satellite Look at Helene's Winds

This is an image of the circulation of the winds from Hurricane Helene as seen on Friday, Sept. 22, 2006 from NASA's QuikSCAT satellite.
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This is an image of the circulation of the winds from Hurricane Helene as seen on Friday, Sept. 22, 2006 from NASA's QuikSCAT satellite. The color image represents wind speed and the streamlines or arrows show direction of the winds. White barbs point to areas of heavy rain. The highest wind speeds, shown in purple, surround the center of the storm.

The scatterometer instrument on QuikSCAT 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. Credits: Image: NASA/JPL; Caption: Rob Gutro Goddard Space Flight Center



Hurricane Helene to Bring Hazardous Surf to Bermuda

Hurricane Helene was 505 miles east-southeast of the island of Bermuda on Thurs. Sept. 21, and set to track north.

GOES image of Hurricane Helene on Sept. 21, 2006.
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This image is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Geostationary Environmental Operational Satellite (GOES) on Sept. 21 at 10:50 a.m. EDT (1450 UTC). This satellite image shows Hurricane Helene to the east-southeast of Bermuda. This data was processed by NASA's GOES Project Science Office at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

For those tracking the storm, at 11:00 a.m. EDT the coordinates of Helene's center was located near latitude 29.6 north, longitude 56.9 west. Helene is moving toward the north near 13 mph with an expected turn to the north-northeast or northeast. Helene is now a Category One hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale with maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph with higher gusts. Estimated minimum central pressure is 970 millibars.

The National Hurricane Center noted that although Helene is expected to pass several hundred miles to the east of Bermuda, large ocean swells producing hazardous surf conditions could affect the area during the next couple of days.

Where May Helene Wind Up?

Helene, like Gordon, may in fact affect eastern Europe, as her track takes her near Scotland by the middle of the week of Sept. 24. Credits: Image: NASA GSFC/NOAA Caption: Rob Gutro, NASA GSFC and NHC Reports



Helene Now a Category Two Atlantic Hurricane

On Tues. Sept. 19, Helene had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, today, Sept. 20, her maximum sustained wind speed dropped to 105 mph as she prepared to turn northward in the Atlantic.

Where is Helene?

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sept. 20, the center of Hurricane Helene was located near latitude 26.0 north, longitude 56.3 west or about 670 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. Helene's movement toward the northwest has increased by 3 mph since Sept. 19, and is now moving near 12 mph and a turn toward the north is expected over the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 105 mph with higher gusts. Helene is now a category two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, dropping from a category three storm yesterday, when she had winds of 125 mph.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 230 miles, about 30 miles further than they did on Sept. 19. Estimated minimum central pressure is 958 millibars, up from 954 millibars yesterday, another indication that Helene was weakening slightly.

NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Rainfall in Helene

TRMM captures Hurricane Helene on Sept. 20, 2006
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This image was created from data obtained by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite on Sept. 20 at 10:49 a.m. EDT (1449 UTC). This image shows the estimated rain falling in Helene, and some areas estimate 40-50 millimeters per hour (approximately 1.5 to 2.0 inches/hour) depicted in red around Helene's center. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Credits: Caption - Rob Gutro; Image: Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC)



Helene Is a Wide and Powerful Hurricane in the Atlantic

Helene is a powerful category three hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, and according to NASA's CloudSat satellite, is around 620 miles across!

A category three storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the scale used to measure hurricane strength has winds between 111-130 mph and generates a storm surge generally 9-12 ft above normal.

This satellite image was taken from NASA's CloudSat satellite on Mon. Sept. 18 at 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 UTC). "The image across is approximately 1300 kilometers (km) (807 miles) across, so from tip-to-tip, Helene is approximately 1000 km (621 miles) across," said Deborah Vane, CloudSat Mission Deputy Principal Investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena. Calif.

This image shows how Helene looks from a sideway view. The red and purple areas on the image indicate large amounts of cloud water.
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This image shows how Helene looks from a sideway view. The red and purple areas on the image indicate large amounts of cloud water. The blue areas along the top of the clouds indicate cloud ice, while the wavy blue lines on the bottom center of the image indicate intense rainfall. Notice that the solid line along the bottom of the panel, which is the ground, disappears in these areas of intense precipitation. It is likely that in the area the precipitation rate exceeds 30mm/hr (1.18 inches/hour) based on previous studies.

Where is Helene on Tues. Sept. 19?

At 11:00 a.m. EDT, the center of Hurricane Helene was located near latitude 24.6 north and longitude 52.9 west or about 895 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. Helene is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 mph and this motion is expected for the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours. Estimated minimum central pressure is 960 millibars.

Helene is forecast to turn to the north and northeast by the weekend, bringing her east of Bermuda, far enough so that the island doesn't receive any rain or winds, only some very high surf. By Sunday, Sept. 24, Helene should be in the north Atlantic Ocean although still maintaining hurricane force winds. Image credit: NASA/JPL/The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University/NOAA



Helene is a Strong Category Three Hurricane in the Atlantic

Where is Helene?

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sept. 18, the center of Hurricane Helene was located near latitude 23.2 north, longitude 50.2 west or about 900 miles east-northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands, and about 1,090 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. Helene is moving toward the northwest near 9 mph and a turn toward the west is expected over the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 125 mph with higher gusts. Helen is a strong category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Category three hurricanes are classified as having sustained winds between 111-130 mph (96-113 knots or 178-209 kilometers/hr). Near land, they can produce storm surges generally 9-12 ft above normal. Hurricanes Jeanne and Ivan of 2004 were Category Three hurricanes when they made landfall in Florida and in Alabama, respectively. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 50 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 200 miles. Estimated minimum central pressure is 954 millibars.

NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Rainfall in Helene

TRMM captures Hurricane Helene on September 17, 2006
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This image was created from data obtained by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite on Sept. 17 at 6:32 p.m. EDT (2232 UTC). This image shows the estimated rain falling in Helene, and some areas estimate 20-30 millimeters per hour (approximately 0.78 to 1.18inches/hour) depicted in green, around Helene's center. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

The Forecast: Western Edge May Bring Rains to Bermuda

The National Hurricane Center discussion on Sept. 18 noted that global computer forecast models show that a large trough, that is, an elongated area of low pressure, is currently approaching the eastern U.S. The computer models indicate that the trough will force Helene slowly northward as the week progresses. During the afternoon of Mon. Sept. 18, a P3 aircraft from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will fly over Helene and obtain data from the storm, which forecasters say will provide valuable information to help forecast the track.

The current forecast track for Helene indicates that her western edge may bring rains to the island of Bermuda, which has already felt the effect of a couple of storms this season already. Rains may affect the island by the weekend.



Tropical Storm Helene to Become a Hurricane, Staying at Sea

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Fri. Sept. 15, Tropical Storm Helene was gaining some strength, according to the National Hurricane Center, but would stay out at sea.

Where is Helene?

At 11:00 a.m. EDT the center of Tropical Storm Helene was located near latitude 15.8 north and longitude 41.4 west or about 1,355 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. Helene is moving toward the west-northwest near 13 mph and this motion is expected to continue during the next day or two. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours and Helene could become a hurricane over the weekend. Estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 millibars.

TRMM Image of Helene Gets Updated

TRMM image of Tropical Storm Helene taken on September 15, 2006
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The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite captured this image of Tropical Storm Helene at 14:34 UTC (10:34 am EDT) on Sept. 15 as it was moving westward through the Central Atlantic. The image shows a top-down-view of the rain intensity obtained from TRMM's sensors. At the time of this image, Helene was a tropical storm. Its sustained winds were estimated to be 50 knots (58 mph) by the National Hurricane Center just after the image was taken. Caption: Steve Lang, NASA/SSAI

NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Rainfall in Helene

TRMM image of Tropical Storm Helene on September 14, 2006
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This image of Helene was taken from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite at 23:44 UTC (7:44 p.m. EDT) on Sept. 14. The left side of the image shows the rain falling in Helene, and some areas show as much as 40 millimeters per hour (1.5 inches per hour) in red. The red line in the left image shows where the TRMM satellite flew over the storm - it flew to the right of Helene's center. At this time, Helene had maximum sustained winds near 45 mph.

The right image shows the height from where the rains are falling in Helene (indicating the height of the clouds). In that image, the highest rainfall appears to be from clouds just higher than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles or 32,800 feet). The space between the two "stacks" of rain is Helene's eye. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Images produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) -- Caption by Rob Gutro, NASA GSFC



Tropical Depression #8 Now Tropical Storm Helene

TRMM image of Tropical Storm Helene
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This is an image from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite that shows how heavy the rain is in Tropical Storm Helene, when she was a depression on Sept. 12 at 2359 UTC (7:59 p.m. EDT). This image shows the rain falling in Helene. The rain is seen in the blue and green areas, indicating light to moderate rain, respectively. The black area in the middle is the center of the storm, and the black diagonal area on the bottom left part of the image was out of TRMM's line of vision, so the southwest part of the storm is not shown here. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Where is Helene?

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thurs. Sept. 14, Tropical Storm Helene was located at 13.4 north latitude, 36.8 west longitude, about 835 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands off the African coast. She's moving toward the west near 20 mph, although she's expected to turn toward the west-northwest in the next 24 hours. Helene's maximum sustained winds near 45 mph. Her minimum central pressure is 1003 millibars. Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours.

Using NASA's QuikScat Satellite to Get a Better Fix on Helene's Location

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in their latest discussion that looking at visible satellite imagery, they see that Helene is slowly becoming better organized with increasing curvature noted in the "bands" around Helene's center. They also said that they used data from NASA's QuikScat satellite to get a better location on Helene's center, which they found to be further south than previously believed.

Hurricane Status Expected for Helene

The NHC expects Helene to intensify slowly. They said that more steady strengthening is expected in the next day or two. Sea surface temperatures along the track where Helene is expected to go are around 27-28 degrees Celsius (80.6 - 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and the upper level winds that can tear a tropical cyclone apart will remain weak. The NHC believes that Helene will become a hurricane by late Sat. Sept. 16. Credit: Rob Gutro -- Goddard Space Flight Center



Tropical Depression # 8 Remains Poorly Organized

As of 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) on Wed., Sept. 13, the center of tropical depression # 8 was located near latitude 12.0 north, longitude 28.5 west, or about 335 miles southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands. The tropical depression was moving toward the west near 17 mph and this general motion was expected to continue over the next 24 hours.

Maximum sustained winds were near 35 mph and slow strengthening is expected, possibly becoming a tropical storm within 24 hours. The estimated minimum central pressure was 1007 millibars. Although forecasters expect the tropical depression to gain strength over the next few days, a region of low pressure in the storm's path combined with dry air to the north will likely have a major influence on its ultimate intensity. The storm is expected to remain over the open Atlantic waters for at least the next few days. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, Goddard Space Flight Center/RSIS -- Image credit: Image Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project



Three Times the Tropics: Florence, Gordon, and Tropical Depression #8

Hurricane Florence, Tropical Storm Gordon, and the newly formed Tropical Depression 8 can be seen in this satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite.
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As Atlantic Hurricane season approaches its peak, which is mid-September, forecasters are watching three storms in the Atlantic Ocean. Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project

Hurricane Florence, Tropical Storm Gordon, and the newly formed Tropical Depression #8 can be seen in this satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES). This satellite image was captured on Tues. Sept. 12 at 7:04 a.m. EDT. This data was processed by NASA's GOES Project at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.