Featured Images

Hurricane Season 2010: Tropical Storm Colin (Atlantic Ocean)
08.09.10
 
August 9, 2010

The stretched out remnants of Colin (center). > View larger image
This GOES-13 visible satellite image shows the stretched out remnants of Colin (center), the low over Florida (lower left) with a 20% chance of development, and the low in the central Atlantic (Area #1, far right) with a 70% chance of development.
Credit: NASA/GOES Project
GOES-13 Satellite Imagery Confirms Colin's Dissipation, Sees Two Other Systems

Tropical Storm Colin faded to a depression over the weekend of August 7-8, but two other low pressure areas in the Atlantic Ocean basin have caught the attention of the GOES-13 satellite and hurricane forecasters.

The final warning on Tropical Depression Colin was issued by the National Weather Service on August 8, at 5 p.m. EDT, when Colin was located near 32.9N and 65.6W, which is about 60 miles northwest of Bermuda.

On Monday, August 9 at 1:37 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center noted that the remnants of tropical depression Colin had become an elongated trough of low pressure and it appears on GOES-13 satellite imagery as an elongated area of clouds stretching north of Bermuda. The center of the low was located north-northwest of Bermuda and moving northward near 15 mph. Colin is not expected to regenerate because it is forecast to merge with a frontal system over the next day or two.

The GOES series of satellites are operated by NOAA, and GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites. GOES-13 watches the eastern half of the U.S. and the Atlantic, while GOES-11 watches weather over the western half of the U.S. and eastern Pacific Ocean. NASA's GOES Project creates images and animations from both GOES-11 and GOES-13. NASA's GOES Project is located at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Meanwhile, farther east of Colin in the open Atlantic Ocean another low pressure area looks promising for development into a tropical cyclone. The low is well-defined and is about 950 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands. It's moving west-northwest between 10 and 15 mph. Satellite data has seen more showers and thunderstorms occurring closer to the center of the low's circulation and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) gives the low a 70% chance of development into a tropical depression in the next two days.

Closer to home, over southern Florida, a broad area of low pressure at the surface is spreading showers and thunderstorms from the southeastern Gulf of Mexico across the Florida Keys to the northwestern Bahamas. The showers and thunderstorms associated with the low are currently disorganized, however, the upper-level winds are expected to become more favorable for development. The low is moving west to west-northwest over the Gulf of Mexico. At this time, the NHC said there is only a 20% chance this low will develop into a tropical cyclone in the next 2 days.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



August 6, 2010

Colin regained tropical storm strength and showed thunderstorms dropping rainfall at the rate of up to 30 mm/hr. > View larger image
The TRMM satellite overpass on Aug. 5 at 7:53 p.m. EDT, after Colin regained tropical storm strength showed a small area where potent thunderstorms east of the center were dropping rainfall at the rate of up to 30 mm/hr (~1.2 inches).
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
AIRS noticed some high, cold cloud tops (purple) indicating strong thunderstorms on August 6. > View larger image
NASA's AIRS instrument captured an infrared look at Colin's thunderstorm temperatures on Aug. 6 at 0617 UTC (2:17 a.m. EDT) and noticed some high, cold cloud tops (purple) indicating strong thunderstorms.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Watches as Colin is Reborn, Warnings Posted for Bermuda

NASA's TRMM satellite captured some moderate rainfall in Tropical Storm Colin just after it regained tropical storm strength late on August 5. Colin is now forecast to bring heavy rains and gusty winds to Bermuda before it heads into the north Atlantic this weekend.

After barely winning its battle with upper level wind shear Colin was again classified as a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida early in the evening of August 5, 2010. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed near Colin's location a little later on August 5 at 2353 UTC (7:53 p.m. EDT). Those rainfall data collected by the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) were analyzed and showed that Colin had a small area where potent thunderstorms east of the center were dropping rainfall at the rate of up to 30 mm/hr (~1.2 inches).

Early on August 6 at 2:17 a.m. EDT, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared look at Colin's thunderstorm temperatures and noticed some high, cold cloud tops, indicating strong thunderstorms.

A Tropical storm warning is now in effect for Bermuda. That means a tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within 36 hours. By Saturday, August 7, tropical storm force winds are expected to spread over Bermuda, and large and battering waves, especially along the south-facing beaches are expected to produce flooding. In addition to the flooding from the waves, expected rainfall between 3 and 5 inches may cause inland flooding.

At 11 a.m. EDT/AST on August 6, Tropical Storm Colin's maximum sustained winds were back up to 45 mph and an increase in strength is possible especially tonight and Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Colin's center was located near 27.1 North and 66.9 West. He was moving to the east-northeast near 7 mph. That track would bring Colin's center just west of Bermuda (putting the strongest northeast quadrant of the storm over Bermuda). However, a slight change in track could bring Colin's center over the island.

As NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite imagery indicated yesterday, Colin has grown in size. As a result of the storm's growth, tropical storm-force winds now extend up to 105 miles from the center, making the storm up to 210 miles from end-to-end. Minimum central pressure is 1007 millibars.

So, what is steering Colin? Higher pressures to the east and lower pressures to the west are guiding Colin toward the north during the next 24-36 hrs. After that time, forecast models show that Colin should be north of a subtropical ridge (an elongated area of high pressure) and dealing with westerly winds, which forecasters expect to cause Colin to more in a more northeasterly direction. Colin is also expected to speed up over the weekend on its journey north. Its next stop is Newfoundland, Canada, according to forecasters.

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



August 5, 2010

TRMM revealed some areas of heavy rainfall north of Colin's center, while most of the rainfall was light to moderate. > View larger image
The TRMM satellite image on August 4 at 8:49 p.m. EDT revealed some areas of heavy rainfall (red) north of Colin's center, while most of the rainfall was light to moderate (green and blue).
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Some Heavy Rain in Colin's Expanding Remnants

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite showed a greatly increased size in the area of cloudiness and rainfall with the remnants of tropical storm Colin when it flew overhead on August 5 at 0049 UTC (August 4 at 8:49 p.m. EDT).

The TRMM image did reveal some areas of heavy rainfall (as much as 2 inches per hour) north of Colin's center, while most of the rainfall was light to moderate. TRMM is managed by both NASA and the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, and acts like a rain gauge in space. For more information on TRMM, visit: trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov.

At 2 p.m. EDT on August 5, the remnant low pressure area that was tropical storm Colin was located about 475 miles south of Bermuda and moving northwestward near 20 mph. Satellite imagery indicates that the low-level circulation of the system has become better defined. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted at 2 p.m. EDT that an Air Force reserve hurricane hunter aircraft is enroute to determine whether it has become a tropical depression or tropical storm.

The NHC now gives Colin a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone again in the next 48 hours and interests in Bermuda should continue to monitor this low pressure area.

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



On August 5, AIRS showed a more organized circulation in Colin's remnants. > View larger image
The latest infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite instrument AIRS captured at 1:35 a.m. EDT on August 5 showed a more organized circulation in Colin's remnants. It also showed some strong areas of convection (purple) around Colin's center.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Satellite Imagery Hints That Colin Could be a "Phoenix"

Infrared satellite imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite from early this morning hinted that the remnants of Tropical Storm Colin are getting better organized.

Satellite imagery taken at 0535 UTC (1:35 a.m. EDT) on August 5 from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, or AIRS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite showed a more organized circulation in Colin's remnants. It also showed some strong areas of convection around Colin's center.

AIRS provides valuable infrared data on Colin's cloud top temperatures, which are important because they tell forecasters how high thunderstorms are, and the higher the thunderstorm, the more powerful it is.

Surface observations suggest that Colin still lacks a well-defined circulation however, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Fla. noted that tropical storm force winds are likely occurring over water well to the north of the Virgin Islands.

At 8:00 a.m. EDT today the remnant low pressure area of former Tropical Storm Colin was located about 300 miles north of the Virgin Islands. The low is moving northwestward near 20 mph.

The NHC noted that Colin may redevelop slowly over the next couple of days and regain tropical storm status later today or Friday. There is a 50% chance that Colin may rise from the ashes like a phoenix and become a Tropical Storm again in the next 48 hours.

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



August 4, 2010

Rainfall analysis shows very little left of Colin except a relatively small area of widely scattered light to moderate showers. > View larger image
TRMM's rainfall analysis on Aug. 3 at 9:47 p.m. EDT showed that there was very little left of Colin except a relatively small area of widely scattered light to moderate showers. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour.
Credit: NASA Goddard/SSAI, Hal Pierce
TRMM Satellite Sees Colin Become a Remnant Low Pressure Area

Tropical Storm Colin was downgraded to a tropical depression after only one day as a minimal tropical storm when upper level wind shear caused Colin's demise. NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite captured an image of the storm's waning rainfall at 9:47 p.m. EDT on August 3. .

When the TRMM satellite, a mission managed by both NASA and the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, flew over Colin late on August 3 (Eastern Daylight Time) it was just a few hours after the National Hurricane Center issued their last advisory on the system. TRMM's rainfall analysis showed that there was very little left of Colin except a relatively small area of widely scattered light to moderate showers..

The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla. issued its final warning on what was Tropical Storm Colin on August 3 at 2100 UTC (5 p.m. EDT). At that time, it was about 540 miles east of the Lesser Antilles near 15.8 North and 53.8 West. Colin's winds had dropped to 34 mph. .

By 8 a.m. today, August 4, Colin had become a remnant low pressure area. The center of the remnant low was located about 150 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands, near 17.0 North and 57.0 West. Colin's remnants continue to move west-northwestward at 20 to 25 mph. .

Although the National Hurricane Center noted that there's a 10% chance that Colin could become a tropical storm again in the next 48 hours, it is still expected to bring heavy rains and gusty winds to the parts of the Leeward Islands and the Virgin Islands today and tonight. Upper level winds continue to batter the storm, preventing it from regenerating today.

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



August 3, 2010

The AIRS infrared image showed the strongest areas of convection (purple) near Colin's center and north of the center. > View larger image
NASA's AIRS instrument captured this infrared of Colin as it passed overhead in space on August 3 at 16:41 UTC 12:41 p.m. EDT. The infrared image showed the strongest areas of convection (purple) near Colin's center and north of the center.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA AIRS Satellite Imagery Shows Tropical Storm Colin Looking Ragged

Tropical Storm Colin appears to be having a difficult time keeping together, at least on the latest infrared satellite imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite. The banding of convection and thunderstorms around Colin's center appears to have weakened since early morning and the strongest convection appears in 2 areas in Colin.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center noted at 11 a.m. EDT today, August 3, that there's a question as to whether Colin still had a closed circulation.

NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument (that flies on NASA's Aqua satellite) captured an infrared image of Colin as it passed overhead in space on August 3 at 16:41 UTC 12:41 p.m. EDT. The infrared image showed the strongest areas of convection near Colin's center and north of the center.

Colin continues to maintain maximum sustained winds near 40 mph, despite being hit by wind shear. Interests in the northern Leeward Islands and the Virgin Islands should monitor the progress of Colin, however, as it continues west. Currently, Colin is moving to the west near 24 mph and is expected to gradually turn west-northwest over the next couple of days. That means that Colin's center should pass to the northeast and north of the Leeward Islands late on August 4 and early on August 5.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Colin's center was near latitude 14.2 north and longitude 49.5 west, and the estimated minimum central pressure was 1006 millibars.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



Tropical Storm Colin (bottom center) as a compact area of clouds in the central Atlantic Ocean. > View larger image
The GOES-13 satellite visible image from 1145 UTC on August 3, shows Tropical Storm Colin (bottom center) as a compact area of clouds in the central Atlantic Ocean.
Credit: NASA GOES Project
Cold cloud tops around TD4's center on August 2 at 11:59 a.m. EDT; 17 hours later, TD4 strengthened into Tropical Storm Colin. > View larger image
This infrared image from NASA's AIRS instrument shows some strong convection and high, cold cloud tops (purple) around Tropical Depression 4's (TD4) center on August 2 at 11:59 a.m. EDT. 17 hours later TD4 strengthened into Tropical Storm Colin.
Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
Tropical Depression 4 Now a Small Tropical Storm Named Colin

The fourth Atlantic tropical depression became Tropical Storm Colin early in the morning today, August 3 and NASA and other satellites are keeping tabs on it. A GOES-13 satellite visible image at 1145 UTC (7:45 a.m. EDT) on August 3, showed Tropical Storm Colin as a compact area of clouds in the central Atlantic Ocean. NASA infrared imagery from the Aqua satellite has watched Colin's convection increase over the last day, indicating the storm's strengthening to a tropical storm.

GOES-13 or the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite monitors U.S. east coast weather and is operated by NOAA. The NASA GOES Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. uses GOES data to create images and animations.

Colin is a small tropical storm. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center. At 5 a.m. EDT, the center of Tropical Storm Colin had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph with higher gusts. Some additional strengthening is forecast during the next 36 hours or so. Colin was located near latitude 14.0 north and longitude 47.2 west and has an estimated minimum central pressure of 1006 millibars.

Colin is moving toward the west-northwest near 23 mph and this general motion is expected to continue for the next day or two. Colin is over open waters and not expected to affect any land areas in the next couple of days. Colin is forecast to pass well to the northeast and north of the Leeward Islands late Wednesday and early Thursday.

On August 2 at 11:59 a.m. EDT, NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the storm when it was still a tropical depression. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured an infrared image that showed some strong convection and high, cold cloud tops around Tropical Depression 4's (TD4) center. Seventeen hours later TD4 strengthened into Tropical Storm Colin. Infrared imagery on August 3 showed a curved band of showers and thunderstorms wrapping halfway around the circulation over the western semicircle of the storm.

What lies ahead for Colin? Colin is expected to be in a good environment that will allow for some strengthening. That good environment consists of moderate to weak vertical shear and anti-cyclonic upper-level (in the upper atmosphere) flow over the next 36 hours or so. After that, the westerly wind shear is forecast to increase and that should begin to weaken Colin.

In addition to Colin, there's a second area of low pressure that forecasters are watching. That other area is one of clouds with showers and thunderstorms over the southeastern Caribbean Sea and the adjacent land areas. That low is associated with a westward-moving tropical wave. Currently, however, there are currently no signs of organization, so any development will be slow because the system is close to land. There is a 20 percent of this system becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



August 2, 2010

This TRMM Satellite 3-D image showed that some isolated thunderstorms extend to heights of about 14km (~8.6 miles). > View larger image
This TRMM Satellite 3-D image showed that some isolated thunderstorms extend to heights of about 14km (~8.6 miles).
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
Scattered thunderstorms are shown dropping moderate to heavy rainfall in some areas of this disturbance. > View larger image
When the TRMM satellite flew overhead on August 1 at 10:05 p.m. EDT and showed scattered thunderstorms are shown dropping moderate to heavy rainfall in some areas of this disturbance. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour. Red areas are heavy rainfall at almost 2 inches per hour.
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Fourth Atlantic Tropical Depression Form

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite is keeping an eye on the rainfall rates within and the cloud heights of the Atlantic Ocean's fourth tropical depression.

At 11 a.m. EDT today, August 2, the National Hurricane Center proclaimed that the low pressure area located about 1050 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, near latitude 12.6 north and longitude 41.1 west had organized into Tropical Depression Four (TD4).

TD4 had maximum sustained winds near 35 mph, and is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph. It is expected to continue moving toward the west-northwest with an increase in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days.

When the TRMM satellite flew overhead on August 2 at 0205 UTC (August 1 at 10:05 p.m. EDT) it captured the rainfall rates within the storm. The rainfall rates were derived by overlaying rainfall analysis used data from TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR) and TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) data. The analysis showed scattered thunderstorms are shown dropping moderate to heavy rainfall in some areas of this disturbance.

Hal Pierce on the TRMM team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. used data from TRMM to create a 3-D image. Those 3-D images are important to forecasters because they show the height of towering thunderstorms within a tropical cyclone. The higher the thunderstorms, the more powerful they are. The 3-D view was created using radar reflectivity data from TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR). The 3-D image showed that some isolated thunderstorms extend to heights of about 14km (~8.6 miles).

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida said this morning that "the environment appears favorable for some strengthening over the next couple of days but after that time vertical wind shear is expected to increase as the cyclone approaches an upper-level trough (an elongated area of low pressure)."

The NHC says that TD4 will likely strengthen into a tropical storm within 24 hours. If TD4 does strengthen it would become the third named storm of the Atlantic Ocean 2010 hurricane season and would be called Colin.

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

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



The waning low near Central America (left) and the strengthening low in the eastern Atlantic (right). > View larger image
GOES-13 captured an infrared image of the Atlantic Ocean Basin on August 2 at 1145 UTC (7:45 a.m. EDT), revealing the waning low near Central America (left) and the strengthening low in the eastern Atlantic (right).
Credit: NASA/GOES Project
One of the Two Atlantic Lows Primed for Tropical Development

The two low pressure areas that forecasters have been watching over the weekend have now given forecasters a clue about their lifetimes and status. The GOES-13 satellite has provided forecasters at the National Hurricane Center with visible and infrared images of both areas of low pressure and shows the low affecting Central America fizzling, while the eastern Atlantic low appears to be on the edge of becoming a tropical depression.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-13 has been providing continuous satellite imagery for both storms over the weekend. Infrared satellite imagery is used during night-time hours and visible imagery is used during the daylight hours. The GOES series of weather satellites are operated by NOAA, and NASA's GOES Project located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates satellite imagery and animations.

"Area one" is a low pressure area that is currently crossing the Nicaraguan and Honduran coasts, and is associated with a tropical wave. The showers and thunderstorms are disorganized and significant development is not expected is it continues to journey westward near 10 mph. Area one is forecast to cross central America and enter into the Eastern Pacific Ocean in the next couple of days. Currently, from the western Caribbean Sea side, there is a zero percent chance that Area one will become a tropical depression in the next 48 hours.

The second area, "Area two" is much more formidable, and has organized over the weekend. It is a large low pressure area that is currently 1050 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. The National Hurricane Center noted this morning, August 2 that "Environmental conditions remain favorable for development and a tropical depression could form at any time during the next day or so as this system moves west-northwestward at 10 to 15 mph."

Area two has a 90 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next 48 hours. If it forms into a depression and strengthens further into a tropical storm, it would acquire the name "Colin."

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center



July 30, 2010

Area #1 over the southeastern Caribbean Sea and Area #2 far to the east, just off the African coast. > View larger image
Visible imagery from the GOES-13 satellite captured on July 30 at 10:45 a.m. EDT showed the first low pressure area (Area #1, left) over the southeastern Caribbean Sea and the second area far to the east, just off the African coast (Area #2, right).
Credit: NASA/GOES Project
GOES-13 Watching Two Atlantic Lows for Tropical Development

This weekend, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center will be using satellite data to watch two low pressure areas in the Atlantic Ocean Basin for possible tropical development. The GOES-13 satellite flew over the Atlantic Ocean today and captured both in visible imagery created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Visible imagery from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-13 captured on July 30 at 1445 UTC (10:45 a.m. EDT) showed the first low pressure area over the southeastern Caribbean Sea and the second area far to the east, just off the African coast.

GOES satellites are operated by NOAA. The NASA GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates imagery and animations using data from the GOES series of satellites.

Area 1 in the southeastern Caribbean appears on GOES-13 imagery looking more like a comet with a tail as it heads west at 15 to 20 mph. The showers and thunderstorms associated with Area 1 are disorganized, so the National Hurricane Center noted that it has a "10 percent chance" of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours.

Area 2 however, has slightly better prospects for tropical development. Located about 700 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands in a tropical wave over the eastern Atlantic Ocean, a small area of disturbed weather was not showing signs of development on Friday morning, July 30. However, a tropical wave that moved off of the African coast during the morning hours was producing a large areas of showers and thunderstorms. The National Hurricane Center noted that the two systems that make up what they call "Area 2" could begin to interact over the weekend, therefore there's a 20 percent chance for tropical cyclone development in the next 48 hours.

Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center