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Hurricane Season 2008: Tropical Storm Arthur (Atlantic Ocean)
06.02.08
 
June 05, 2008

Alma and Arthur Bring Heavy Rains to Central America

Map of Alma and Arthur storm paths Credit: Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)
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Alma, the first named storm of the season in the eastern Pacific, made landfall on the northern Pacific coast of Nicaragua as a strong tropical storm. After making landfall, the system continued northward moving further inland over the high terrain of Honduras where it dissipated. Immediately thereafter, Arthur, the first named storm of the Atlantic season, formed in close proximity from a separate area of low pressure in the northwestern Caribbean as it was moving ashore over Belize. Arthur also dissipated as it moved deeper into the Yucatan Peninsula over southern Mexico. The combination of Alma and Arthur brought heavy rains to parts of Central America.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (also known as TRMM) has been in service for over 10 years now and continues to provide a steady stream of rainfall data for the Tropics. The TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center provides estimates of rainfall over the global Tropics. TMPA rainfall totals associated with Alma and Arthur are shown for the period 27 May to 4 June 2008. Solid black lines show the path of each storm (Arthur to the north and Alma to the south) with appropriate storm symbols marking the 00Z and 12Z positions. The highest rainfall totals for the period exceed 400 mm (~16 inches, shown in red) over coastal Belize and are mainly associated with the formation and passage of Arthur. A swath of 100+ mm (~4+ inches, shown in green) stretches across northern Guatemala and southern Mexico. Farther to the south, an area of 200 to 300+ mm of rain (~8 to 12+ inches, shown in yellow and orange) covers Costa Rica. This is associated with moisture being drawn up by the counterclockwise circulation of Alma. Amounts where Alma actually made landfall are less, on the order of 100 mm (~4 inches). So far at least 9 deaths are being blamed on the two storms across the region.

TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Text credit: Steve Lang, SSAI/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



June 04, 2008

Arthur’s Remnants Soaking Central America

Arthur, the first Atlantic Tropical Storm of the season is still soaking Central America as a remnant low pressure system.

On Wednesday, June 4, 2008, Arthur’s remnants were still raining on El Salvador, Guatemala and southeastern Mexico. The remnant low was located near 15.8 degrees north latitude and 93.5 degrees west longitude, or about 100 miles east-southeast of Salina Cruz, Mexico.

Residents in El Salvador, Guatemala and southeastern Mexico can expect high rainfall totals of 5 to 15 inches, and as a result, life-threatening mud-slides and flash-floods are possible in places.

According to Transworld News, Four people drowned and others were missing in Belize on Monday, June 2, as remnants of Arthur (and his predecessor, Eastern Pacific Storm Alma) flooded much of Central America and southern Mexico. The Associated Press reported severe flooding and up to 9 fatalities from both Alma and Arthur, as of June 4.

AIRS image of Arthur taken on June 04, 2008. Credit: NASA/JPL This infrared image of Arthur’s remnants was created by data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), an instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite. The top image from June 4 at 8:05 UTC (4:05 a.m. EDT) shows Arthur in the purple area over Central America.

The AIRS image shows the temperature of the cloud tops or the surface of the Earth in cloud-free regions. The lowest temperatures (in purple) are associated with high, cold cloud tops that make up the top of Arthur’s remnants. The infrared signal of the AIRS instrument does not penetrate through clouds. Where there are no clouds the AIRS instrument reads the infrared signal from the surface of the Earth, revealing warmer temperatures (red). Text credit: Rob Gutro/Goddard Space Flight Center


June 02, 2008

Atlantic Ocean Hurricane Season Starts Early With a Gender Bender

Alma, the first and record-breaking Tropical Storm in the eastern Pacific Ocean formed the last weekend in May. Alma's remnants re-generated into the first tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin, where it was re-named Arthur from the Atlantic Ocean storm name list. Now, it may be headed back into the Pacific!

Tropical Storm Alma has established three new records for an eastern Pacific storm. Alma was the first tropical storm (in the available records) to make landfall on the Pacific coast of Central America when she made landfall on May 29. She also made landfall farther east than any previous eastern pacific tropical cyclone, and was the first to do so on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua.

At 1:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 31, what was once Alma, had downgraded significantly into an area of low pressure that had moved across Central America and into the northwestern Caribbean Sea. Then it strengthened back into a tropical storm as it was crossing the Belize coast, and was given the name Arthur, as it became the first storm in the Atlantic Ocean basin. The National Hurricane Center noted “This system is not designated Tropical Storm Alma because the surface center of Alma dissipated over the high terrain of Central America yesterday.”

Arthur’s Final Call

By 11:00 p.m. EDT, Sunday, May 31, the National Hurricane Center issued its seventh and final advisory on Arthur, as he continued to deteriorate, while still generating heavy rains (up to 10 inches) over portions of Belize.

At that time, Arthur was located near 17.4 north and 91.3 west, near the northwester border between Guatemala and Mexico. Arthur was moving about 6 mph to the southwest, with sustained winds near 30 mph. The minimum central pressure was 1006 millibars at that time.

Arthur image from AIRS on June 1, 2008 These infrared images of Arthur (click on images to enlarge) were created by data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), an instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite. The top image from June 1 at 7:35 UTC (3:35 a.m. EDT) shows Arthur in the western Caribbean Sea.

The AIRS images show the temperature of the cloud tops or the surface of the Earth in cloud-free regions. The lowest temperatures (in purple) are associated with high, cold cloud tops that make up the top of Arthur. The infrared signal of the AIRS instrument does not penetrate through clouds. Where there are no clouds the AIRS instrument reads the infrared signal from the surface of the Earth, revealing warmer temperatures (red).

Arthur image from AIRS on June 2, 2008 Could Alma-Arthur Have As Many Lives as a Cat?

The second image, from Monday, June 2 at 8:17 UTC (4:17 a.m. EDT) shows part of Arthur’s circulation (purple) re-entering the eastern Pacific Ocean. At 5:00 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center noted “A large area of showers and thunderstorms extends from the Gulf of Tehuantepec southward for a few hundred miles over the eastern Pacific. Upper-level winds are expected to become a little more favorable for development and a tropical depression could form within this area during the next day or two.”

Image credit: NASA/JPL
Text credit: Rob Gutro/Goddard Space Flight Center



June 1, 2008

2008 Hurricane Seasons Begin in Eastern Pacific and Atlantic

Satellite images of Alma and Arthur Credit: Jesse Allen, using data obtained from the Goddard Land Processes data archives (LAADS)
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> May 29 image (higher resolution)
> May 31 image (higher resolution)
Both the eastern Pacific and Atlantic hurricane seasons of 2008 were inaugurated within a few days of each other in late May and the first days of June. That these two “season openers” occurred in the same week wasn’t simply a coincidence: they were related. On May 29, thunderstorms over the Pacific Ocean about 250 miles southwest of Nicaragua became Tropical Storm Alma: the first named storm of the 2008 eastern Pacific season. Alma moved north and made landfall on the coast of Nicaragua. As it crossed Central America, the storm fell apart as a circulating system, but the remaining moisture and energy emerged over the Gulf of Honduras to the north. There, on May 30, those remnants spun up into Tropical Storm Arthur: the first named storm of the Atlantic season.

On Thursday, May 29, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite observed Tropical Storm Alma as it was making landfall in Nicaragua. The familiar shape of a hurricane -- a pinwheel of clouds spinning around an obvious eye -- is hard to make out in the image. The center of circulation was just offshore, south of the city of León. The remains of the storm headed north, and by May 31, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite collected the bottom image, they were helping to fuel Tropical Storm Arthur. The image shows the storm making landfall at Belize.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Alma was the first hurricane ever to make landfall on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, and it was the first Pacific hurricane to strike anywhere on the coast of Central America since 1949.

Text Credit: Rebecca Lindsey