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Hurricane Season 2009: Hurricane Rick (Eastern Pacific)
10.22.09
 
October 22, 2009

Aqua's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured Rick's remnants (in blue) October 22. > View larger image
Aqua's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured Rick's remnants (in blue) October 22 at 3:59 a.m. EDT (7:59 UTC). Rick charged through Texas and has fed moisture into that low pressure system that was migrating across the Continental United States- over Nebraska/Iowa/Missouri.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen

Rick's Remnants Now Merged with a Low in the Central U.S.

NASA's Aqua satellite captured Rick's remnant clouds and showers as they charged through Texas and fed moisture into a low pressure system that is migrating across the U.S. By mid-day on October 22, Rick's remnant moisture had folded into a low pressure area centered over Missouri.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued their final advisory on Rick's remnants on Wednesday, October 21 at 2 p.m. PDT (5 p.m. EDT). "The high terrain of western Mexico had taken its toll on Rick," the NHC noted. Satellite images and observations on the surface showed that Rick's center of circulation had dissipated by that time.

NASA's Aqua satellite's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured Rick's high clouds and showers this morning at 3:59 a.m. EDT as they spread northeast over Mexico and into Texas. The AIRS image revealed that all of the powerful thunderstorms had fizzled and confirmed that Rick's center of circulation had dissipated.

During the afternoon and overnight hours into October 22 Rick's moisture moved northeastward across northern Mexico and into Texas. By mid-day on October 22, Rick's moisture had merged with a front extending from a low over Missouri. The precipitation stretched from Louisiana into Michigan.

Live radar of the continental U.S. from the National Weather Service shows the system moving east: http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/index_loop.php.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



October 21, 2009

TRMM satellite image of Rick from October 20 at 2233 UTC › View larger image
This TRMM satellite image from October 20 at 2233 UTC shows very heavy rain (red) located between the storm's center of circulation and the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour.
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

MODIS image of Tropical Storm Rick approaching Mexico on October 20 at 2050 UTC › View larger image
NASA's MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite captured Tropical Storm Rick approaching Mexico on October 20 at 2050 UTC (4:50 p.m. EDT). Credit: NASA, MODIS Rapid Response
Rick Makes Landfall in Western Mexico, Now a Depression

Tropical Storm Rick made landfall in western Mexico this morning, October 21 near Mazatlan around 7 a.m. PDT (11 a.m. EDT) with maximum sustained winds of about 55 mph. NASA satellites kept monitoring Rick's behavior prior to landfall, providing valuable data about Rick's clouds, temperatures and rainfall to forecasters.

TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) and Microwave Imager (TMI) analysis on October 20 at 6:33 p.m. EDT showed very heavy rainfall, as much as 2 inches per hour, located between Rick's center of circulation and the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula before it made landfall earlier today.

By 2 p.m. EDT today, October 21, Rick was already well inland and located about 70 miles northeast of Mazatlan, Mexico, near 23.9 North and 105.6 West. Rick has also weakened into a depression over the mountains of western Mexico, with sustained winds near 35 mph. Rick is expected to degenerate to a remnant low pressure area later today, and his remnants are expected to track into Texas. He was moving to the northeast near 17 mph and had a minimum central pressure of 1004 millibars.

Even though Tropical Storm Warnings for Mexico have been discontinued, the rainfall is going to be problematic as Rick moves through. Rainfall totals between 4 and 6 inches are expected over Sinaloa and Durango, and some areas could see as much as 10 inches. That poses a danger for flooding and mudslides.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center











October 20, 2009

Tropical Storm Rick's clouds over the southern tip of Baja California at 7:30 a.m. PDT, October 20. > View larger image
The GOES-11 satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Rick's clouds (bottom left) over the southern tip of Baja California at 7:30 a.m. PDT, October 20. San Jose del Cabo was already reporting light rain at that time.
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Tropical Storm Rick's Center Expected to Pass South of the Baja

Residents in southern Baja California, Mexico still haven't recovered from last month's Hurricane Jimena, and Tropical Storm Rick is now bringing rains to southern tip of the Baja. The National Hurricane Center revised its forecast track at 11 a.m. EDT and it keeps Rick's center over open waters with a landfall in western mainland Mexico.

The GOES-11 satellite (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Rick on October 20 at 7:30 a.m. PDT (11:30 a.m. EDT), and it showed that the northern edge of Rick's clouds were already over the southern Baja.

On October 20 at 10:50 a.m. EDT (7:50 PDT), the airport at San Jose del Cabo, Baja California, Mexico was reporting light rain, and light winds from the west at 2 mph.

A tropical storm warning in effect for southern Baja California, from Agua Blanca to Buena Vista including Cabo San Lucas. Tropical storm conditions are expected within 24 hours. A tropical storm watch is in effect for mainland Mexico from Roblito to Altata, and for southern Baja California from Buena Vista to La Paz. Tropical storm conditions are likely within 36 hours.

At 8 a.m. PDT (11 a.m. EDT) today, October 20, Tropical Storm Rick had maximum sustained winds near 65 mph. His center was 90 miles north of Socorro Island, and 200 miles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Cabo San Lucas is the southern-most city on the Baja. Rick was located near latitude 20.1 north and longitude 110.8 west, and moving northeast near 7 mph. Minimum central pressure is estimated near 991 millibars.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 km) from the center, so that's why Cabo San Lucas had very light winds at 10:50 a.m. EDT. Rick's center was too far away.

The National Hurricane Center is now forecasting Rick's center to pass near or to the south of the southern tip of Baja California tonight or early Wednesday, and approach the western coast of mainland Mexico on Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that heavy rainfall can be expected in extreme southern Baja California as Rick nears and passes, and in northwestern Mexico when Rick makes landfall. The latest NHC discussion reads, "Total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 6 inches...with isolated amounts of 10 inches...are possible over extreme southern Baja California as well as the states of sinaloa and Durango in west-central Mexico during the next few days. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides."

Large ocean swells are already battering portions of the southern Baja coast and west-central coast of mainland Mexico and will continue over the next couple of days. In fact, Carnival Cruise Lines announced that they were diverting two cruise ships until Tropical Storm Rick has passed. In the state of Nayarit on the mainland, the port of San Blas was closed.

GOES-11 is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and images are created by NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Rick is expected to make landfall in mainland Mexico during the day time on Wednesday, October 21.

Text credit: Hal Pierce, SSAI/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center



October 19, 2009

Lupit was a category 4 super typhoon with wind speeds of about 132 knots (~152 mph). > View larger image
TRMM satellite flew over hurricane Rick on October 18, 2009 at (3:53 a.m. EDT). Heavy rain (red areas) were falling in Rick's northern and eastern sides at a rate of almost 2 inches per hour.
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Two Dangerous Storms in the Pacific Ocean: Lupit and Rick

Powerful tropical cyclones have developed recently on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. In the western Pacific Super Typhoon Lupit is threatening the Northern Philippines within the next three days. This will be the third deadly typhoon to hit the Philippines in less than a month. A combined total of over 800 deaths have already been attributed to Typhoon Ketsana that hit in late September and typhoon Parma that passed over the Philippines on October 3.

At the same time category five hurricane Rick formed on the other side of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico. Rick is predicted by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida to weaken to a category one hurricane and pass over the Baja Peninsula within 48 hours.

NASA and the Japanese Space Agency manage the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, known as TRMM. TRMM has the capability to measure rainfall from space. The typhoon Lupit image was made from data received by the TRMM satellite on October 18, 2009 at 1535 UTC (11:35 EDT). At that time Lupit was a category 4 super typhoon with wind speeds of about 132 knots (~152 mph). The TRMM satellite revealed that Lupit had a very well defined eye with very heavy rainfall in the northeast quadrant of the eye wall.

The hurricane Rick image was made using data captured when the TRMM satellite flew over hurricane Rick on October 18, 2009 at (3:53 a.m. EDT) 0753 UTC. At that time Rick was a powerful category 5 hurricane with wind speeds of about 155 knots (~178 mph). The TRMM rainfall analysis was derived from the Precipitation Radar (PR) and TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and showed heavy rain falling on its northern and eastern sides at about 2 inches per hour.

By 11 a.m. EDT on October 19, Rick's maximum sustained winds had decreased to 115 mph. Rick's center was located near 17.8 North and 111.6 West, only 80 miles south-southwest of Sorocco Island, and 370 miles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas. Rick was moving northwest near 9 mph, and had a minimum central pressure near 958 millibars.

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

Text credit: Hal Pierce, SSAI/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center



MODIS image of Rick> View larger image
NASA's MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite captured Hurricane Rick on October 18 at 1:55 p.m. EDT (17:55 UTC) south of Baja California. Credit: NASA, MODIS Rapid Response

AIRS image of Rick> View larger image
Aqua's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured Hurricane Rick's high thunderstorm cloud temperatures (in purple) were colder than minus 63 Fahrenheit. Rick's eye is clearly visible in this image from October 18 at 4:59 p.m. EDT. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Satellites and Baja California on Watch as Hurricane Rick Approaches

NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites flew over Hurricane Rick this weekend, and watched the storm strengthen into a major hurricane.

Rick was a tropical storm during the early morning hours on Friday, October 16, and strengthened into a hurricane late in the day. Over the weekend, Rick became a major hurricane. On Saturday, October 17 Rick reached a Category Five hurricane status with maximum sustained winds reaching 180 mph, becoming the second most powerful hurricane in the Eastern Pacific on record, only behind Hurricane Linda of 1997.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the southern Baja California from Santa Fe, southward on the west coast from San Evaristo southward on the east coast, including Cabo San Lucas. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area...generally within 36 hours. In addition, residents in western mainland Mexico should monitor the progress of Rick, as it is expected to cross the southern Baja and then make a final landfall in western mainland Mexico.

NASA's Aqua satellite's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured Hurricane Rick's thunderstorm cloud-top temperatures and confirmed that they were very high, powerful thunderstorms within the storm. AIRS measured thunderstorm cloud temperatures were colder than minus 63 Fahrenheit indicating a strong hurricane. The AIRS image also clearly showed an eye on October 18 at 4:59 p.m. EDT. When NASA's Terra satellite passed over Rick three hours earlier, the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument onboard revealed that the eye was starting to fill in with clouds. Because AIRS didn't show cold clouds, it means that the clouds that were starting to fill in the eye were lower, warmer clouds.

There's currently a 15-20 knot (17-23 mph) wind shear that's affecting Hurricane Rick, and that's good news. The wind shear (winds blowing at various levels of the atmosphere that can weaken a tropical cyclone) is helping to deteriorate his cold cloud tops in the western part of his eye. In fact, the eye has disappeared in recent satellite imagery now, and NASA's Terra satellite saw the eye beginning to fill in on October 18.

This morning, October, 19 at 5:13 a.m. EDT, NASA's Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer, AMSR-E, showed that the southwestern eyewall has eroded, and suggests that Rick's circulation may be becoming vertically tilted. When a storm's circulation tilts, it's an indication that the storm is weakening.

At 5 a.m. PDT (8 a.m. EDT) on October 19, Hurricane Rick had maximum sustained winds near 125 mph, making the storm a Category 3 hurricane. The center of Rick was located about 365 miles south-southwest of the city of Cabo San Lucas. That city is on the southernmost tip of the Baja California. Rick's center was near 17.7 North and 111.1 West. The estimated minimum central pressure is 950 millibars.

Rick was moving northwest at 10 mph, but he's going to change direction a little in the next couple of days. He's forecast to turn toward the north and slow down. Then, he's expected to speed up again and move more north-northeast then northeasterly late Tuesday and Wednesday. Forecasters expect Rick's center will be near the southern Baja California late Tuesday or early Wednesday, however, gusty winds and rains from Rick will be felt there before then.

In fact, Rick is already generating large ocean swells, and they'll affect portions of the southern Baja coast and the west-central coast of Mexico over the next couple of days. These hurricane-generated surf conditions will be dangerous.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla. is the organization that forecasts hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Forecasters there noted "Although additional weakening is forecast during the next day or so...Rick is still expected to be a dangerous hurricane as it approaches the southern Baja Peninsula."

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



Oct. 16, 2009

Baja California Residents Should Prepare for Hurricane Rick

GOES-11 captured this infrared image of Tropical Storm Rick October 16 at 2:00 a.m. EDT The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-11, captured an infrared image of Tropical Storm Rick this morning, October 16 at 2:00 a.m. EDT (0600 UTC). Credit: NASA GOES Project
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Infrared AIRS satellite image of thunderstorms (purple) in Tropical Storm Rick as he was intensifying on October 16 at 4:41 a.m. EDT This NASA infrared AIRS satellite image captured high, cold thunderstorms (purple) in Tropical Storm Rick as he was intensifying on October 16 at 4:41 a.m. EDT (1:41 PDT). Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
› Larger image
Based on computer forecast models, the residents of southern and central Baja California should prepare over the weekend for now Tropical Storm Rick. Rick formed late yesterday, October 15, and is expected to become a major hurricane over the weekend. NASA satellite imagery captured the storm this morning as a strong tropical storm off the western Mexican coast. NASA infrared satellite imagery suggests an eyewall forming indicating the storm is powering up.

Tropical Depression 20-E formed last evening (around 5 p.m. EDT) and rapidly intensified into Tropical Storm Rick. Rick is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane over the weekend, and may become a major hurricane (Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) by the end of day on Sunday, October 18.

So what's powering Rick? Warm sea surface temperatures and light wind shear are promoting Rick's strengthening. Those conditions appear to be favorable for maintaining and strengthening Rick over the weekend (the next 2 or 3 days). Wind shear is light, with winds less than 11 mph (10 knots). Sea surface temperatures in Rick's path are near 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). Tropical cyclones need ocean surface temperatures of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain strength.

At 5 a.m. EDT on October 16, Rick's maximum sustained winds were already at 65 mph, just 9 mph shy of a Category One Hurricane. The center of Tropical Storm Rick was located near latitude 12.5 north and longitude 98.7 west or about 315 miles (505 kilometers) south-southeast of Acapulco, Mexico. Rick is moving west-northwest near 9 mph, and had a minimum central pressure of 994 millibars.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-11, captured an infrared image of Tropical Storm Rick this morning, October 16 at 2:00 a.m. EDT (0600 UTC). Although the storm stretches for a couple of hundred miles, tropical storm-force winds currently extend outward up to 60 miles from the center, but are expected to reach farther outward as Rick intensifies.

The NASA infrared Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) satellite image captured high, cold thunderstorms in Tropical Storm Rick as he was intensifying on October 16 at 4:41 a.m. EDT (1:41 PDT), and Rick continues to intensify quickly, according to the National Hurricane Center. Infrared imagery during the early morning hours today, October 16, shows increased intensity and area of deep convection, wrapping three-quarters around Rick's center. The National Hurricane Center, who uses the infrared data, noted that "There are indications of a ragged eyewall developing in the last few infrared images."

The storm will head west, later northwest and could pose a danger for Baja California beyond the 5-day scope of the National Hurricane Center's forecast. Therefore, residents of southern and central Baja California should make preparations over the weekend. Evacuations from coastal areas may be called for early next week if the forecast holds.

For updates on storm position over the weekend, go to the National Hurricane Center page: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center