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Hurricane Season 2010: Tropical Storm Richard (Caribbean Sea/Atlantic)
10.27.10
 
October 27, 2010

Infrared NASA Image Sees the Last of Tropical Depression Richard

AIRS image showing that Richard has weakened into a remnant low pressure area. › View larger image
This infrared image of Richard's remnant clouds (green) was captured by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite on Oct. 26 at 19:35 UTC (3:35 p.m. EDT). There were no strong, high thunderstorm cloud tops (blue) left in the system, indicating that Richard had weakened into a remnant low pressure area.
Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
Tropical Depression Richard breathed his last tropical breath yesterday, Oct. 26 as infrared NASA imagery showed his remnant clouds moving into the western Gulf of Mexico.

By 11 a.m EDT on Oct. 26, Richard had become a remnant low pressure area with maximum sustained winds near 30 mph. It was last located about 170 miles west-northwest of Campeche, Mexico near 20.4 North and 93.1 West. It was moving north-northwest near 12 mph and had a minimum central pressure of 1004 millibars. At that time, Richard lacked any organized deep convection and was downgraded to a remnant low pressure area.

Even though Richard moved over water southwesterly wind shear increased and dry air in the mid-levels of the atmosphere squelched and development back into a tropical cyclone.

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Richard's remnant clouds on Oct. 26 at 19:35 UTC (3:35 p.m. EDT) an infrared image was captured by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument. The image showed no strong convection (rapidly rising air that forms thunderstorms that power a tropical cyclone) left in the remnants of Richard. There were no strong, high thunderstorm cloud tops either, indicating that Richard had weakened into a remnant low pressure area.

By the morning of Oct. 27, Richard's remnants had become a trough of low pressure on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. A trough is an elongated area of low pressure. That trough was continuing to weaken and was located between 22 and 25 degrees North latitude, and 94 and 95 degrees West longitude. Richard is now part of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season history.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD



October 26, 2010

GOES image of Richard › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Depression Richard on Oct. 25 at 1853 UTC (2:53 p.m. EDT) and captured this infrared image of Richard's warming cold cloud top temperatures (blue).
Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Satellite Imagery See Tropical Depression Richard Being Kept "At Bay"

Tropical Depression Richard entered the Bay of Campeche this morning at 5 a.m. EDT, but winds and dry air are expected to keep the storm "at bay" and not enable re-intensification. NASA and NOAA satellite imagery show that the thunderstorms within Richard are weakening and cloud cover is thinning.

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Depression Richard on Oct. 25 at 1853 UTC (2:53 p.m. EDT) and captured an infrared image of Richard's warming cold cloud top temperatures. Warming cloud top temperatures indicate that the thunderstorm cloud tops are not as high in the troposphere (the lowest layer of the atmosphere where weather occurs). Warming cloud tops indicate a weakening tropical cyclone, and because strong thunderstorms power a tropical cyclone like Richard, it appears that the punch has been taken out of the system.

Richard's power has been cut off because of two factors, wind shear and dry air. Wind shear is a difference in wind speed and direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere. Vertical wind shear attacked or batters the heat engine of a tropical cyclone, making it break down. With strong wind shear, tropical cyclones weaken as the upper circulation of the storm is blown away from the low level center. When the upper and lower levels become separated, or pushed in different directions like a spring standing up, the storm, like a spring, loses its ability to stand straight and can't function (a spring would fall over). Dry air is always a tropical cyclone killer. Tropical cyclones require warm, moist air to function. Dry air saps the humidity and power out of a tropical cyclone.

GOES image of Tropical Depression Richard› View larger image
This GOES-13 image of Tropical Depression Richard was captured on Oct. 26 at 1132 UTC (7:32 a.m. EDT). Although a weak circulation is still apparent the cloud cover associated with Richard is becoming sparse. Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project
A NOAA satellite called the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, or GOES-13 captures images of the eastern U.S. continuously. GOES-13 captured an image of Tropical Depression Richard on Oct. 26 at 1132 UTC (7:32 a.m. EDT) and a weak circulation was still apparent, however, the cloud cover associated with Richard was becoming sparse. GOES is managed by NOAA, and NASA's GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates images and animations using the satellite data.

At 5 a.m. EDT on Oct. 26, Richard's maximum sustained winds were down to 30 mph. It was centered about 135 miles west-southwest of Campeche, Mexico near Latitude 19.4 North and longitude 92.5 west. It was moving toward the northwest near 10 mph, and is expected to continue moving in that direction until it dissipates. Minimum central pressure was 1005 millibars.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla. noted that the strong vertical wind shear and dry air over the Gulf of Mexico should cause Tropical Depression Richard to degenerate into a remnant low pressure area by Wednesday afternoon, unless convection re-develops.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro and Hal Pierce
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD



October 25, 2010

NASA Satellites Capture Richard's Rainfall, Now a Depression

TRMM saw Richard was dropping moderate to heavy rainfall over Honduras. › View larger image
NASA's TRMM satellite saw Richard was dropping moderate to heavy rainfall over Honduras and very heavy rainfall over water north of the center of circulation while moving westward on Oct. 24 at 1017 UTC (6:17 a.m. EDT). 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.
Image Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
NASA satellites have watched as Richard went through a couple of life-transitions over the weekend. Richard developed into a tropical storm last week, intensified into a hurricane and made landfall in Belize and is now a tropical depression, poised to enter western Gulf of Mexico.

Richard formed in the Caribbean Sea on 20 October 2010. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite flew over Richard twice on Sunday, Oct. 24. The first time was at 0203 UTC (10:05 p.m. EDT Oct. 23). At that time, TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) data showed that Richard was dropping moderate to heavy rainfall over Honduras and very heavy rainfall over water north of the center of circulation while moving westward.

The second time TRMM passed over Richard was at 1017 UTC (6:17 a.m. EDT). Those TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) data showed that an eye was forming and Richard had become the tenth hurricane of the 2010 season. The eye of category one hurricane Richard with winds estimated at 78 knots (90 mph) hit Belize on Sunday, Oct. 24 at about 0300 UTC (9:00 p.m. EDT Oct. 23). Richard then rapidly weakened to a tropical storm as it moved over north-eastern Guatemala.

By Monday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. EDT, Richard's maximum sustained winds were down to 35 mph making him a tropical depression. Richard was located about 145 miles south of Campeche, Mexico near latitude 17.8 North and longitude 90.2 West. The depression is moving toward the west-northwest near 8 mph. A turn toward the northwest is expected within the next day or two. Estimated minimum central pressure is 1006 millibars. There are no watches and warnings currently in effect.

The TRMM satellite is keeping an eye on Richard's rainfall, and it is expected to continue diminishing over the next day. Today, the Yucatan Peninsula can expect additional rainfall accumulations up to 1 to 2 inches in a few areas across the Mexican states of Quintana Roo and Campeche.

On the forecast track the center will emerge into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday morning and he is expected to continue weakening. He is forecast to become a remnant low pressure area in the next day or two. The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla. noted that southwesterly Wind shear along with dry air should preclude regeneration and Richard is likely to degenerate into a remnant low in a couple of days.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro and Hal Pierce
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD



October 22, 2010

Tropical Storm Richard Born in the Caribbean, GOES-13, TRMM Watching

Richard's clouds already over the Honduras/Nicaragua border as it heads toward Belize for landfall this weekend. › View larger image
This visible GOES-13 image of Tropical Storm Richard at 1732 UTC (1:32 p.m. EDT) on Oct. 22 shows that Richard's clouds already over the Honduras/Nicaragua border as it heads toward Belize for landfall this weekend.
Image Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project
The GOES-13 satellite is watching Tropical Storm Richard work its way through the western Caribbean, and residents of eastern Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula are bracing for its impacts as it is forecast to strengthen to hurricane status this weekend. Richard is going to be a big rainmaker for those countries.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite called GOES-13 captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Richard at 1732 UTC (1:32 p.m. EDT) on Oct. 22. GOES satellites are managed by NOAA. NASA's GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates images and animations from the satellite data and created today's image that shows Richard's clouds are already over the Honduras/Nicaragua border as it heads toward Belize for landfall this weekend.

Watches and warnings are already in effect as residents are bracing for Richard's arrival as a hurricane. A hurricane watch is in effect for Honduras from the Nicaragua/Honduras Border westward to Limon, and a tropical storm warning is in effect for Honduras from the Nicaragua/Honduras Border westward to Limon.

At 2 p.m. EDT on Oct. 22, Richard was still a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph, but he is expected to intensify in the warm waters of the western Caribbean before he makes landfall. Richard's center is located about 140 miles east-northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras border, near 15.8 North and 81.3 West. It is moving west at 3 mph and has a minimum central pressure of 1006 millibars.

Richard is expected to be a big rainmaker, with maximum storm totals between 5 and 7 inches. With this amount of rain, flash flooding and mudslides are possible. Winds will pick up as Richard continues its slow crawl to land. Northeastern Honduras can expect tropical storm conditions late Saturday.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD



October 21, 2010

Tropical Storm Richard Born in the Caribbean, GOES-13, TRMM Watching

GOES-13 captured Tropical Storm Richard just as it reached tropical storm status. › View larger image
GOES-13 captured this visible image of Tropical Storm Richard at 1432 UTC (10:32 a.m. EDT) just as it reached tropical storm status.
Image Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project
The TRMM noticed rain falling at about 2 inches per hour (red) near the storm's center. › View larger image
The TRMM satellite flew over Richard this morning as dawn was breaking today at 1125 UTC (7:25 a.m. EDT) and noticed rain falling at about 2 inches per hour (red) near the storm's center. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour.
Image Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite called GOES-13 snapped an image of the birth of the seventeenth tropical storm of the Atlantic Ocean season at 11 a.m. EDT today. At that time, Tropical Storm Richard strengthened from Tropical Depression 19 and is expected to bring large amounts of rainfall to Jamaica. NASA's TRMM Satellite noticed that rain in some areas of Richard are falling at around 2 inches per hour.

The GOES-13 satellite is operated by NOAA, and the NASA GOES Project, which is located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. created the image of Richard's "birth" in an image captured at 1432 UTC (10:32 a.m. EDT) today, just as it reached tropical storm status.

Another satellite captured the rate in which rain was falling within Tropical Storm Richard this morning. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (TRMM) which is managed by NASA and the Japanese Space Agency flew over Richard this morning as dawn was breaking today at 1125 UTC (7:25 a.m. EDT).

A TRMM Visible and Infrared image from this early morning pass was overlaid with rainfall derived from TRMM's Microwave Imager (TM) and Precipitation Radar (PR) instruments. A few powerful thunderstorms were dropping heavy rainfall, falling at as much as 2 inches per hour, near Richard's center of circulation when he was still Tropical Depression 19.

It didn't take long for Tropical Depression 19 to strengthen into Tropical Storm Richard this morning. In fact, at 5 a.m. EDT, Richard was still a depression. Before 11 p.m. EDT on Oct. 20, it was just a low pressure area known as System 99L.

At 11 a.m. EDT today, Oct. 21, Richard had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph, and those are expected to increase in the warm waters of the western Caribbean. Those tropical-storm force winds have a good reach, however, extending up to 105 miles from the center, mostly to the east of the center. Richard could reach hurricane status in the next day or two.

Richard's center was about 220 miles south-southeast of Grand Cayman, and about 205 miles east-northeast of the Nicaragua/Honduras border near 16.2 North and 80.4 West. It was moving southeast at 6 mph, and had a minimum central pressure of 1006 millibars.

Richard is expected to be another rainmaker in the region, bringing 4 to 8 inches of rainfall to Jamaica with isolated amounts up to as much as a foot in some areas with higher terrain. Residents of Jamaica should be on guard for flash floods and mudslides.

As Richard continues to move through the Caribbean, interests in Honduras, Belize, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula should prepare quickly for his effects.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD



NASA's "Infrared Vision" Foretold of New Tropical Depression 19

AIRS showed that the strongest thunderstorms and heaviest precipitation were over Jamaica and eastern Cuba › View larger image
Data from the AIRS instrument showed that the strongest thunderstorms (purple) and heaviest precipitation were over Jamaica and eastern Cuba on October 20 15 18:35 UTC (2:35 p.m. EDT).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
Infrared vision is a superpower that NASA satellites have, and it gives scientists the information they need to figure out if a low pressure system will transform into a tropical depression, as System 99L just did. NASA's AIRS instrument provided the information about higher thunderstorm cloud tops that indicated System 99L strengthened into Tropical Depression 19 in the Southwestern Caribbean late last night.

NASA's Aqua satellite turned on its "infrared vision" from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on Oct. 20 at 18:35 UTC (2:35 p.m. EDT) and saw that System 99L's thunderstorm cloud tops had grown colder and higher than they were earlier in the day. That means there was more uplift of air or stronger convection in the storm that created those higher, stronger thunderstorms. Cloud top temperatures were as cold as or colder than -65 degrees Fahrenheit in System 99L at that time.

Data from the AIRS instrument showed that the strongest thunderstorms and heaviest precipitation were over Jamaica and eastern Cuba at that time. AIRS data is used to create images at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

At 5 a.m. EDT today, Oct. 21, Tropical Depression 19 had maximum sustained winds near 35 mph. It was located about 160 miles south-southeast of Grand Cayman near 17.0 North and 80.7 West. It was moving slowly to the southeast near 3 mph, and had a minimum central pressure of 1005 millibars. It is located in an area of warm waters over the 80 degree Fahrenheit threshold for tropical cyclone development, so it is expected to strengthen, and could be a tropical storm later today.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD



October 20, 2010

GOES-13 Sees System 99L Organizing Tropically

This visible GOES-13 image shows that System 99L appears to be getting organized. › View larger image
This visible GOES-13 image of System 99L at 1431 UTC (10:31 a.m. EDT) on Oct. 20 shows that the system appears to be getting organized. It is the circular area of clouds in the western Caribbean Sea.
Image Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project
NASA's TRMM satellite noticed light to moderate rainfall within System 99L. › View larger image
NASA's TRMM satellite captured the rainfall within System 99L on Oct. 20 at 0410 UTC (12:10 a.m. EDT) and noticed light to moderate rainfall within the system. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour.
Image Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
The GOES-13 satellite keeps a continuous eye over the eastern U.S., the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, and noticed that System 99L is much better organized today, October 20, hinting that it could become a tropical depression later today.

At 8 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 20, System 99L, a low pressure system about 150 miles southwest of Grand Cayman appears to be getting organized as it drifts eastward in the Caribbean Sea.

System 99L is showing more organization than it did yesterday, despite strong upper-level winds that are currently inhibiting significant development. Those winds, however, are expected to become more favorable for a tropical depression to form during the next day or so.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite called GOES-13 captured a visible image of System 99L today, Oct. 20 at 1431 UTC (10:31 a.m. EDT). GOES satellites are managed by NOAA. NASA's GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates images and animations from the satellite data and created today's image that shows System 99L is getting organized and appears as a rounded area of clouds in the western Caribbean Sea.

Earlier in the day, NASA and the Japanese Space Agency's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite flew over System 99L and captured light to moderate rainfall throughout the storm. The TRMM team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates rainfall imagery using data from various instruments aboard the satellite. Rain rates in the center of the TRMM swath were created from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), the only spaceborne radar of its kind, while those in the outer portion are from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). To put the image together, the rain rates were then overlaid on infrared data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner.

The National Hurricane Center noted that a U.S. Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate this system later today. Even if System 99L doesn't become a tropical depression today, it is still going to bring heavy rainfall to the Cayman Islands and Jamaica during the next couple of days.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD



October 19, 2010

NASA Infrared Data Hints at a Possible Developing Tropical Depression

Most of the strongest thunderstorms (purple) colder than -63F appeared in the eastern and western parts of 99L. › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite AIRS instrument captured an infrared image of System 99L's clouds on October 18 at 0659 UTC (2:59 a.m. EDT). Most of the strongest thunderstorms (purple) colder than -63F appeared in the eastern and western parts of the low, and a tight circulation isn't evident in this image.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument captures infrared images of tropical cyclones and their environments. AIRS provided forecasters with a picture of temperatures inside and outside of System 99L in the western Caribbean, which has a good chance for becoming a tropical depression in the next 48 hours.

System 99L is a large low pressure system over the northwestern Caribbean Sea between Honduras and the Cayman Islands.

NASA's Aqua satellite AIRS instrument captured an infrared image of System 99L's clouds on October 18 at 0659 UTC (2:59 a.m. EDT). Most of the strongest thunderstorms colder than -63F appeared in the eastern and western parts of the low, and a tight circulation isn't evident.

The infrared imagery does show that the showers and thunderstorms are a little better organized than they appeared on October 17. Now environmental conditions have improved in the area, and it will allow for further development over the next couple of days. Currently, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla. gives System 99L a 40 percent chance for development in the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, System 99L continues moving through the western Caribbean to the north-northwest between 5 and 10 mph, and forecasters are watching it for further development.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD