Featured Images

Text Size

Hurricane Season 2011: Hurricane Kenneth (Eastern Pacific Ocean)
11.25.11
 
NOAA's GOES-11 satellite captured an image of the battered Kenneth on Nov. 25 at 1200 UTC (7 a.m. EST) that revealed the very poor circulation. › View larger image
NOAA's GOES-11 satellite captured an image of the battered Kenneth on Nov. 25 at 1200 UTC (7 a.m. EST) that revealed the very poor circulation. Kenneth resembled a small oval-shaped area of clouds in the eastern Pacific. That strongest concentration of clouds were southeast of the center of what was left of Kenneth's circulation and indicated where the remaining showers and thunderstorms were in the storm at the time. Credit: NASA/ NOAA Project
Wind Shear Pushes Tropical Depression Kenneth Apart Like a Stack of Tires

Kenneth may have been a major hurricane earlier this week, but today wind shear and cooler waters have weakened the storm to a remnant low pressure areas. NOAA's GOES-11 satellite captured multiple images of Kenneth over the week showing the disappearance of his eye and the breakdown of the storm's circulation. Like a stack of tires that can't rotate all together, different levels of Kenneth's circulation were pushed out, weakening the entire storm.

At 4 a.m. EST on Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, Kenneth had weakened to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds near 35 mph (55 kmh). It was being battered by strong wind shear which was pushing the thunderstorms away from the center of its circulation. A tropical cyclone can only maintain strength or get stronger is when the different levels of it (in the atmosphere) stack up like a bunch of tires. If someone pushes a tire out of the middle (similar to what wind shear does to a tropical cyclone by pushing out the middle or upper levels of thunderstorms) the storm can't rotate and hold together. Satellite imagery showed that the showers associated with the remnants were all southeast of the center, meaning that the wind shear was coming from the northwest.

NOAA's GOES-11 satellite captured an image of the battered Kenneth on Nov. 25 at 1200 UTC (7 a.m. EST) that revealed the very poor circulation. Kenneth resembled a small oval-shaped area of clouds in the eastern Pacific. That strongest concentration of clouds was southeast of the center of what was left of Kenneth's circulation and indicated where the remaining showers and thunderstorms were in the storm at the time. The image was created at NASA's GOES Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. in partnership with NOAA.

By 10 a.m. EST on Nov. 25, that wind shear had taken its toll on Kenneth, and it was reduced to a "remnant low pressure area" in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. At that time, its winds were down to 30 mph (45 kmh) and it was moving to the west at 15 mph (24 kmh). Kenneth's remnants (basically scattered showers and thunderstorms) were far from land, sitting some 1,250 miles (2,010 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California.

The scattered showers and thunderstorms that were once a powerful major hurricane continue to rain themselves out over the cooler waters of the eastern Pacific. Kenneth is expected to dissipate entirely over the weekend.

Text credit: Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/, Greenbelt, Md.



November 23, 2011

Hurricane Kenneth's rainfall was captured by TRMM on Nov. 23, 2011 at 455 UTC (11:55 p.m. EST, Nov. 22). › View larger image
This radar image of Hurricane Kenneth's rainfall was captured by the TRMM satellite on Nov. 23, 2011 at 455 UTC (11:55 p.m. EST, Nov. 22). The red areas indicate heavy rainfall of 2 inches (50 mm) per hour. Light to moderate rainfall (green and blue) was falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches/20 to 40 mm per hour).
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Hurricane Kenneth Weaken

Hurricane Kenneth broke records yesterday in the eastern Pacific Ocean hurricane season by attaining major hurricane status with maximum sustained winds near 145 mph. Today, those winds have dropped as Kenneth battles wind shear and cooler waters. NASA's TRMM satellite passed over Kenneth early this morning and noticed rainfall was less intense.

Kenneth began as the thirteenth tropical depression and that formed on Saturday, November 19, about 480 miles south of Acapulco, Mexico. By Nov. 21, Kenneth was a hurricane. Kenneth is one of the latest forming named storms in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 28 years.

At 4 a.m. EST on Nov. 23, Kenneth was a Category Two hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson scale) with maximum sustained winds down to 110 mph (175 kmh). Further weakening is expected as Kenneth moves into the stronger wind shear and cooler waters. Kenneth was centered about 840 miles (1350 km) south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, near 12.5 North and 116.5 west. It was moving to the west near 9 mph (15 kmh) and had a minimum central pressure of 968 millibars.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite called "TRMM" passed over Kenneth early this morning, Nov. 23 at 4:55 UTC (11:55 p.m. EST, Nov. 22) and captured rainfall and cloud height data. TRMM data showed that some thunderstorms within the Kenneth were still at heights near 9.3 miles (15 km), indicating there was still a lot of strength in the storm despite that it is being battered by wind shear. In addition to the wind shear, cooler waters were limiting the evaporation and power being fed into the storm.

The data from TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) showed heavy rainfall was occurring only around the area northeast of Kenneth's center. That heavy rain was falling at a rate of over 2 inches (50 mm) per hour. Most of the other precipitation falling within Kenneth was light to moderate. The TRMM satellite is co-managed by NASA and JAXA, and the data was created into an image at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The National Hurricane Center noted that Kenneth may become a tropical storm by Thanksgiving Day and a depression by Friday, Nov. 25.

Text credit: Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/, Greenbelt, Md.



November 22, 2011

MODIS captured Hurricane Kenneth on Nov. 21 at 1:20 p.m. EST › View larger image
NASA's Terra satellite flew over Hurricane Kenneth on Nov. 21 at 1:20 p.m. EST and the MODIS instrument captured this visible image. Although infrared imagery showed a ragged eye developing, it was obscured by clouds in this image. Kenneth was off the western Mexico coastline at this time.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response, Jeff Schmaltz
This image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite at 10:00 a.m. EST on Nov. 22 clearly shows the eye in Kenneth. › View larger image
This image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite at 10:00 a.m. EST on Nov. 22 clearly shows the eye in major hurricane Kenneth.
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Hurricane Kenneth Becomes Late-Season Record-Breaking Major Hurricane

NASA satellites have been watching hurricane Kenneth in the eastern Pacific, and today, Nov, 22, Kenneth became a late-season major hurricane. In fact, Kenneth sets a record for the latest season major hurricane in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

A major hurricane is one that reaches category three status or greater on the Saffir-Simpson scale that measures hurricane strength. At 10 a.m. EST, Kenneth's maximum sustained winds were near 145 mph (230 kmh)! Kenneth's center was far away from land areas and about 750 miles (1210 km) south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico. That puts Kenneth's center near 12.7 North and 113.9 West. Kenneth was moving to the west near 13 mph (20 kmh) and had a minimum central pressure of 943 millibars.

NASA's Terra satellite flew over Hurricane Kenneth on Nov. 21 at 1:20 p.m. EST and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured a visible image where the storm's eye was obscured by high clouds. Today, the eye has become cloud-free on NOAA's GOES-13 satellite imagery. Infrared satellite imagery today shows that the cloud top temperatures of the thunderstorms surrounding the eye were as cold as -94 Fahrenheit (-70 Celsius) indicating very high, powerful thunderstorms.

The storm is more than 300 miles in diameter, as tropical-storm force winds extend 150 miles from the center (240 km). Hurricane-force winds cover a smaller area, out 40 miles (65 km) from the center.

The National Hurricane Center expects a lot of changes out of Kenneth in the next couple of days. First, Kenneth is expected to make a turn to the west-northwest late tomorrow, Nov. 23. Kenneth is also going to run into cooler sea surface temperatures and increasing west to northwesterly wind shear which will weaken the hurricane beginning late Wednesday.

Text credit: Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/, Greenbelt, Md.




November 21, 2011

Hurricane Kenneth's rainfall was captured by the TRMM satellite on Nov. 21, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. EDT. › View larger image
This radar image of Hurricane Kenneth's rainfall was captured by the TRMM satellite on Nov. 21, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. EDT. The red areas indicate heavy rainfall of 2 inches (50 mm) per hour. Light to moderate rainfall (green and blue) was falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches/20 to 40 mm per hour).
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
Late Season Hurricane Kenneth Forms in the Eastern Pacific

The hurricane season in the eastern Pacific isn't over and Hurricane Kenneth serves as a reminder that the season ends November 30. NASA satellite imagery shows Kenneth more organized than it appeared on Sunday, Nov. 20 and became a late season hurricane earlier today.

Kenneth began as the thirteenth tropical depression and that formed on Saturday, November 19, about 480 miles south of Acapulco, Mexico. On Sunday, November 29 at 0300 UTC (11 p.m. EST, Nov. 19) the National Hurricane Center noted that the center of Tropical Depression 13E was further north than previously estimated and it had intensified into Tropical Storm Kenneth. Kenneth is noteworthy because it is a named storm that is one of the latest forming in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 28 years.

By 10 a.m. EST on Nov. 21, Kenneth strengthened into a hurricane. Kenneth's maximum sustained winds were near 80 mph (130 kmh) and further strengthening is expected. Kenneth was centered about 705 miles (1135 km) south of the southern tip of Baja California, near 12.7 North and 109.6 west. It was moving to the west-northwest near 14 mph (22 kmh) and had a minimum central pressure of 989 millibars. Kenneth is forecast to turn to the west and slow down.

When the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite called "TRMM" passed over Kenneth on Nov. 21 at 15:00 UTC (10:00 a.m. EST) the instruments aboard gathered data that provided a rainfall analysis. The TRMM satellite is co-managed by NASA and JAXA, and the data was created into an image at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The image showed a ragged eye was forming.

The data from TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) showed heavy rainfall was occurring around Kenneth's center. Some of the heaviest rainfall was falling at a rate of over 2 inches (50 mm) per hour. The TRMM image also revealed a well-defined band of thunderstorms wrapping in the center of circulation as Kenneth continues to strengthen.

Wind shear is expected to be light in Kenneth's path, and although the waters will cool somewhat, Kenneth may still become a major hurricane.

Text credit: Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/, Greenbelt, Md.



NOAA's GOES-13 satellite caught System 90E developing in the eastern Pacific › View larger image
NOAA's GOES-13 satellite caught System 90E developing in the eastern Pacific (left) and another tropical low in the Atlantic (right) on Nov. 18, 2011 at 1145 UTC (7:45 a.m. EST). The low called System 90E appears to be getting organized on the GOES infrared imagery with the largest amount of clouds north and east of the low's center of circulation. The cold front that brought tornadoes to the southeastern U.S. is seen to the west of the Atlantic Low.
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
GOES Satellite Eyeing Late Season Lows for Tropical Development

Its late in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific hurricane seasons, but the calendar isn't stopping the tropics. The GOES-13 satellite is keeping forecasters informed about developing lows like System 90E in the eastern Pacific and another low pressure area in the Atlantic.

System 90E and the Atlantic low pressure area were both captured in one image from the NOAA's GOES-13 satellite today, Nov. 18, 2011 at 1145 UTC (7:45 a.m. EST). The image was created by the NASA GOES Project (in partnership with NOAA) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The low called System 90E appears to be getting organized on the GOES infrared imagery with the largest amount of clouds north and east of the low's center of circulation.

System 90E was located about 475 miles south of the Gulf of Tehuantepec near 9.2 North and 95.9 West at 1 a.m. EST on November 18. It was moving to the west at 15 mph, and is producing a concentrated area of showers and thunderstorms near its center of circulation, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). NHC gives System 90E a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression over the weekend.

Meanwhile in the Atlantic Ocean GOES-13 captured another low pressure system that has less of a chance of developing this weekend. The low pressure area is located in the central Atlantic and appears elongated from north to south. It contains a large area of clouds and showers. The low is about 900 miles east and northeast of the Leeward Islands.

It developed from a combination of three factors: an interaction between a surface trough (elongated area) of low pressure, an upper level low pressure area and a tropical wave. The NHC expects slow development over the next couple of days, and has given it a 10 percent chance of development over the weekend.

West of the Atlantic Low is the strong cold front denoted by a line of clouds stretching from northeast to southwest that brought severe weather (including tornadoes) to the southeastern U.S. on November 16.

Text credit: Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/, Greenbelt, Md.