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Hurricane Season 2011: Maria (Atlantic Ocean)
09.16.11
 
This 3-D image created from the TRMM satellite's data shows convective storm towers near Maria's center › View larger image
This 3-D image created from the TRMM satellite's data shows convective storm towers near Maria's center of circulation reached to heights of over 11km (6.8 miles) and that powerful storms in feeder bands on Maria's western side were over 12km (7.5 miles) high. Red indicates heavy rainfall (2 inches/50 mm per hour).
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
This AIRS infrared image of Hurricane Maria was taken on Sept. 15 at 1:35 p.m. EDT › View larger image
This infrared image of Hurricane Maria was taken on Sept. 15 at 1:35 p.m. EDT and shows the extent of Maria's clouds stretching from Florida to Nova Scotia, Canada. The strongest convection and thunderstorms appear in purple and have cloud temperatures of -63 Fahrenheit, and heavy rainfall.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
Image of Hurricane Maria shows the extent of Maria's clouds stretching from Florida to Nova Scotia, Canada. › View GOES-13 animation
This animation of NOAA's GOES-13 satellite observations from Sept. 6 at 8:45 a.m. EDT through Sept. 16 at 7:45 a.m. EDT shows the movement of Hurricane Katia followed by Tropical Storm Maria. Maria became a hurricane on Sept. 15 and raced northward toward a landfall in Newfoundland, Canada.
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
NASA Sees Power Within Hurricane Maria as it Heads for a Landfall in Newfoundland

Hurricane Maria joins twelve other hurricanes on record to make landfall in Newfoundland, Canada, and NASA satellite imagery revealed its inner strength.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed over Hurricane Maria on Sept. 15 and the Precipitation Radar instrument revealed "hot towers," or towering cumulonimbus cumulus clouds that indicated a lot of strength in the storm. Hot towers penetrate the tropopause. They are called hot towers" because of the large amount of latent heat released as water vapor condenses into liquid and freezes into ice.

At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., Hal Pierce of the TRMM science team created a 3-D image from TRMM data. The 3-D image showed the hot towers around Maria's center had reached heights of over 11km (6.8 miles). It also showed powerful storms in feeder bands on Maria's western side were over 12km (7.5 miles) high, containing heavy rainfall (falling at 2 inches/50 mm per hour). Earlier NASA studies concluded that whenever hot towers are seen around the center of a tropical cyclone, the storm will likely intensify within six hours. In addition to that power within Maria, she's also moving very fast through the Atlantic which is helping keep her composure, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Another NASA satellite provided cloud temperatures, which relate to cloud height and strength. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image that revealed strong convection (rapidly rising air that forms thunderstorms) and the strong thunderstorms around Maria's center, matching the TRMM satellite data. Those areas had cloud-top temperatures as cold as -63F/-52C. Cloud-top temperatures are important because they tell forecasters how high thunderstorms are, and the higher the thunderstorm, the colder the cloud tops and the more powerful the thunderstorms.

AIRS infrared image of Hurricane Maria was taken on Sept. 15 at 1:35 p.m. EDT and showed the long extent of Maria's clouds stretching from Florida to Nova Scotia, Canada. On Sept. 16, AIRS data showed the cloud top temperatures were warming, indicating that cloud heights are falling, and Maria had less energy (convection) than it did 24 hours before.

Since records have been kept in 1775, there have been 12 other recorded hurricanes to make landfall in Newfoundland. Tropical cyclones hit Newfoundland in 1775, 1866, 1873, 1886, 1891, 1893, 1939, 1958, 1995, 2000, 2002, and most recently, Hurricane Igor on Sept. 21, 2010. Igor struck Cape Race, Newfoundland as a category one hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph (120 kmh) and higher gusts. Igor was called the worst hurricane to hit Newfoundland in a century. Maria is the 13th storm to make landfall there.

Usually, Canada is hit with weak tropical cyclones because of the cool waters offshore. However, some storms have maintained hurricane strength because the warm waters of the Gulf Stream extend relatively close to eastern Canada.

Today, however, Maria is maintaining strength and has prompted a hurricane warning for Newfoundland from Arnolds Cove to Brigus south. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Newfoundland from Stones Cove to Arnolds Cove and from Brigus south to Charlottetown.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Hurricane Maria had maximum sustained winds near 75 mph (120 kmh). She was located about 210 miles (340 km) southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland near 44.6 North and 56.3 West. Maria was speeding to the northeast at 52 mph (83 kmh) and had a minimum central pressure of 983 millibars. Tropical storm conditions are expected to continue across southeastern Newfoundland tonight, according to the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane conditions are expected by mid-day today. However, the National Hurricane Center noted that hurricane force winds are likely only occurring to the southeast of the center and could remain offshore if the center moves to the right of the forecast track.

Maria is already beginning to transition into an extra-tropical cyclone, and infrared imagery from NASA's AIRS instrument shows that all of the strong convection and strongest thunderstorms have moved north of the center.

Rainfall is expected to be between 1 and 3 inches, and coastal flooding is expected near and to the east of where Maria makes landfall. After passing Newfoundland, Maria will move into cooler waters and weaken over the weekend.

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


September 15, 2011

NASA's TRMM satellite flew over Tropical Storm Maria on September 15, 2011 › View larger image
NASA's TRMM satellite flew over Tropical Storm Maria on September 15, 2011 at 6:01 a.m. EDT. The heaviest rainfall was occurring in the northwest quadrant of the storm (Red) falling at almost 2 inches (50 mm) per hour. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
NASA's TRMM Satellite Reveals Heaviest Rainfall in Maria's Northwestern Quadrant

NASA's TRMM satellite peers through clouds and can decipher the rate rain is falling within a tropical cyclone, and data from the satellite shows that the heaviest rainfall is occurring in the northwestern quadrant of the storm, away from Bermuda.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite traveled above tropical storm Maria on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 1001 UTC ( 6:01 a.m. EDT). TRMM has the ability to measure rainfall rates and cloud heights, two factors that are important and helpful to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) meteorologists who are forecasting Maria's next move. The TRMM rainfall data that NASA provides to the NHC is helpful in determining the amount of rainfall that Bermuda will receive as Maria passes by. The NHC forecasts between 1 and 3 inches of rainfall for Bermuda today from Maria.

Maria's organization had improved over that seen by TRMM earlier in the week due to favorable (warmer) sea surface temperatures and lower upper level wind shear. A rainfall analysis from TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR), displayed in a lighter swath, showed that powerful convective storms were dropping rainfall at a rate of over 50mm/hr (~2 inches) northwest of Maria's center of circulation. A large area of rainfall containing bands of heavier rainfall was also shown by TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) to be located between the storm's center and Bermuda. At the time TRMM passed over Maria, the NHC estimated that Maria had wind speeds of 55 knots (65 mph).

At 11 a.m. EDT on Sept. 15, Maria's maximum sustained winds were just shy of hurricane strength at 70 mph (110 kmh) and an eye appeared on microwave satellite imagery. Maria was about 130 miles west of Bermuda near 32.4 North and 67.0 West. Maria was speeding north-northeast at 30 mph (48 kmh) and had a minimum central pressure of 991 millibars. A Hurricane Watch and Tropical Storm Warning are currently in effect for Bermuda as Maria passes by today.

By 2:00 p.m. EDT today as Maria passes to the west of Bermuda, winds are predicted to reach minimal hurricane strength of 65 knots (75 mph). Maria is then forecast to turn to the northeast and speed up.

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


In Maria, a large outer band of thunderstorms that resembles a finger stretches from north to northeast. › View larger image
There's a large outer band of thunderstorms that resembles a finger stretching from north to northeast and far from Maria's center that has some strong convection and thunderstorms (purple).
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
Tropical Storm Maria captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite on Sept. 11 at 10:55 a.m. EDT. › View larger image
This visible image of Tropical Storm Maria was captured by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite on Sept. 11 at 10:55 a.m. EDT when it was near the Leeward Islands.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
NASA Infrared Satellite Image Sees Maria's Stormy "Finger"

There is a band of thunderstorms north and east of Tropical Storm Maria's center that appears to look like a giant finger on NASA infrared satellite imagery. That "finger" contains some high, cold cloud tops and strong thunderstorms.

An image from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite was taken on September 14 at 05:53 UTC (1:53 a.m. EDT) and shows that "finger" of thunderstorms outside of Maria's center, stretching from north to east. Some of the cloud-top temperatures in that finger or band of thunderstorms were colder than -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius) indicating there were strong storms and heavy rainfall. Heavy rainfall and strong thunderstorms also surround Maria's center of circulation.

Maria continues to threaten Bermuda today as tropical storm warnings remain in effect and those strong storms are expected to bring the island between 1 and 3 inches or rainfall. The finger, or band of thunderstorms is evidence that Maria is more organized than she was yesterday.

At 11 a.m. EDT on Sept. 14, Tropical Storm Maria had maximum sustained winds near 60 mph (95 kmh). It was about 420 miles (670 km) east-northeast of the central Bahamas, and 565 miles south-southwest of Bermuda. Maria's center was near 25.2 North and 69.4 West. Maria was moving to the north at 14 mph (22 kmh) and had a minimum central pressure of 1001 millibars.

Right now, it remains up in the air as to whether Maria will remain a strong tropical storm, or strengthen into a hurricane because of atmospheric conditions. Various computer models are predicting different scenarios, so it's up to the interpretation of the forecasters.



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



September 13, 2011

NASA's TRMM satellite flew over Maria on Sept. 12 at 8:49 a.m. EDT. › View larger image
NASA's TRMM satellite flew over Maria on Sept. 12 at 8:49 a.m. EDT. Tropical storm Maria's center (red tropical storm symbol) was exposed and displaced well to the west of deep convection. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour. Red areas are considered heavy rainfall at almost 2 inches (50 mm) per hour.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
NASA's TRMM Satellite Rainfall Image Shows Tropical Storm Maria Disorganized

Whenever the strongest rainfall in a tropical storm is displaced from the storm's center that's an indication that wind shear is battering the storm.

When the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed over tropical storm Maria on September 12, 2011 at 1249 UTC (8:49 a.m. EDT) it collected data on rainfall occurring within the storm. TRMM data showed Tropical Storm Maria's center of circulation was exposed and displaced well to the west of deep convection (Rising air that forms the thunderstorms that make up the tropical cyclone) and heaviest rainfall.

With this pass, TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) scanned directly above the deepest convection that lay east of Maria's center. Those data showed that some rainfall in this area was very intense with rates of over 50 mm/hr (~2 inches).

Due to this lack of organization and westerly to south-westerly wind shear in the future, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicted that Maria's wind speeds will only increase slightly to about 50kts ( ~57.5 mph) in the next 36 hours.

On Sept. 13, Maria was moving to the north-northwest at 6 mph (9kmh) and bringing that heavy rainfall over Puerto Rico. The National Hurricane Center reported that Maria is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches over Puerto Rico, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 to 20 inches over the higher elevations through Sept. 14, Wednesday morning. Residents of Puerto Rico should be on guard for flooding and mudslides in areas of steep terrain. Maria is also expected to bring between 1 and 2 inches of rainfall to the Virgin Islands today.

The National Weather Service in San Juan has extended the urban and small stream flood advisory for a number of municipalities in Puerto Rico today. The National Weather Service estimates hourly rainfall rates have been between an inch to two inches in some areas. The flood advisory includes: Bayamon, Ciales, Caguas, Cidra, Cayey, Corozal, Comerio, Aibonito, Aguas Buenas, Barranquitas, Gurabo, Orocovis, Naranjito, Morovis, Toa Alta, Trujillo Alto, Guaynabo, Carolina and San Juan.

Meanwhile, a Tropical Storm Watch is still in effect for Bermuda as Maria is expected to pass to the west of the island. Tropical storm conditions are possible on Bermuda by Wednesday night or early Thursday.

At 11 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 13, Maria's maximum sustained winds were near 50mph. Maria's center was located about 315 miles (505 km) east of the southeastern Bahamas, near 22.1 North and 68.0 West. Maria had a central pressure of 1006 millibars.

Maria is expected to move over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean between the east coast of the United States and Bermuda and accelerate northward ahead of an elongated area of low pressure moving off the U.S. east coast in the next couple of days.

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



September 12, 2011

This visible image of Tropical Storm Maria was taken by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite at 14:55 UTC (10:55 a.m. EDT) on Sept. 11, 2011 when it was near the Leeward Islands.  Puerto Rico is seen to the left of the storm. › View larger image
This visible image of Tropical Storm Maria was taken by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite at 14:55 UTC (10:55 a.m. EDT) on Sept. 11, 2011 when it was near the Leeward Islands. Puerto Rico is seen to the left of the storm.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
Tropical Storm Maria Appears Disorganized on NASA Satellite Imagery

Tropical Storm Maria appears disorganized and asymmetrical on NASA satellite imagery today, with the bulk of clouds to the north and east of her center.

Wind shear is taking its toll on Tropical Storm Maria, pushing the heaviest rains and strongest winds away from the storm's center of circulation.

In satellite imagery on September 11, 2011 the strongest convection (rapidly rising air that forms the thunderstorms that power a tropical cyclone) were east of Maria's center. A visible image of Tropical Storm Maria was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument onboard NASA's Terra satellite at 14:55 UTC (10:55 a.m. EDT). The image showed the highest, towering clouds east of the center, and they cast shadows on the lower clouds. MODIS images are created by the MODIS Rapid Response Team, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

On Sept. 12 at 11 a.m. EDT, Maria's maximum sustained winds were near 50 mph (85 kmh), and the strongest storms were still east of her center of circulation. Maria's center was about 175 miles (285 km) north-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, near 20.7 North and 67.3 West. It was moving to the west near 2 mph (4 kmh) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) expects Maria to pick up speed and move to the west-northwest later today.

Satellite imagery shows the most power in Maria lies to the east of the center, and that's also the direction that strongest winds extend outward. Tropical storm-force winds extend up to 200 miles (321 km) from the center to the north and east.

As Maria passes by Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the northern Leeward Islands, she's expected to bring 2 to 4 inches (50-101 mm) of rain with higher isolated amounts up to 6 inches (152 mm). Tropical Storm force winds are also expected in those areas.

Wind shear is keeping Maria from strengthening today. Winds from the west-northwest blowing at 25 knots (29 mph/46 kmh) from an upper-level low pressure area are preventing Maria from gaining strength today.

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



September 9, 2011

GOES image of Maria on Sept. 9, 2011 › View larger image
This visible image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite shows Tropical Storm Maria approaching the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea on Sept. 9 at 10:45 a.m. EDT. Maria does not have the signature shape of a mature tropical storm, and appears amorphous. Hispaniola is to the left of the storm.< br /> Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Tropical Storm Maria's "West Side Story" to the Caribbean

Tropical Storm Maria is making her own "West Side Story" and is headed in the direction of the Lesser Antilles. Satellite imagery today shows Maria's close proximity to the island chain in the Caribbean.

A visible image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite showed Tropical Storm Maria approaching the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea on Sept. 9 at 10:45 a.m. EDT. Maria does not have the signature shape of a mature tropical storm and appeared somewhat amorphous. The image was created by NASA's GOES Project, located at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

One of the songs from there is appropriate for the Caribbean: "Something's Coming": that would be Tropical Storm Maria. Warnings and watches are up through the Caribbean as Maria approaches from the east. Tropical storm watches are in force for: Dominica, Saint Martin, St. Barthelemy, Martinique, Vieques, Culebra, and Puerto Rico. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Guadeloupe, St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius. Tropical Storm warnings are also in effect for Antigua, Anguilla, Barbuda, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts and British Virgin Islands.

At 11 a.m. EDT on Sept. 9, Tropical Storm Maria's maximum sustained winds were near 45 mph. Some slight strengthening is possible in the next day, according to the National Hurricane Center. She was moving to the west-northwest near 17 mph (28 kmh). Maria was about 350 miles southeast of the Leeward Islands near 14.2 North and 57.5 West. Maria's minimum central pressure was 1003 millibars. Maria's tropical storm force winds extend out 175 miles from the center, mostly to the northeast.

Maria is expected to pass through the Lesser Antilles tonight on her westward track. The Lesser Antilles are forecast to receive between 3 and 5 inches of rainfall from Maria, with isolated totals as high as 8 inches. The National Hurricane Center notes that "Maria is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches over the central to northern Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Residents in the Caribbean should remain vigilant this weekend as Maria prepares to bring her own musical version "West Side Story" to the region with heavy rains and gusty winds.

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



September 8, 2011

NASA Sees 4 Tropical Cyclones in the Atlantic Today

There are four tropical cyclones or remnants plaguing the Atlantic Ocean basin today, Sept. 8, 2011, and one satellite has captured all four in one image: Katia, Lee, Maria and Nate.

GOES image of four Atlantic Storms on Sept. 8, 2011 NOAA's GOES-13 satellite took a stunning image of 4 tropical systems in the Atlantic today, Sept. 8, 2011. Hurricane Katia in the western Atlantic between Bermuda and the U.S. East coast; Tropical Storm Lee's remnants affecting the northeastern U.S.; Tropical Storm Maria in the central Atlantic; and newborn Tropical Storm Nate in the Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)
› Larger image
› Unlabeled image


NOAA's GOES-13 satellite monitors the Atlantic and eastern U.S. and took a stunning image of Hurricane Katia in the western Atlantic between Bermuda and the U.S. East coast; Tropical Storm Lee's remnants affecting the northeastern U.S.; Tropical Storm Maria in the central Atlantic; and newborn Tropical Storm Nate in the Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico. The visible image was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Hurricane Katia

Hurricane Katia is causing rough surf along the U.S. east coast, and fortunately that's all she'll do. Today, Sept. 8, 2011, her center is passing between Bermuda and the east coast of the U.S. Bermuda is still under a tropical storm watch. Katia's eye is still visible in today's GOES-13 image.

NASA's Aqua satellite's AIRS instrument measured the cloud top temperatures within Hurricane Katia on Sept. 8 at 2:29 a.m. EDT. The infrared data showed the coldest cloud top temperatures (-63F/-52C) and strongest thunderstorms with the heaviest rainfall extended from the north to the east and south of the center. The AIRS imagery was created at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Katia's maximum sustained winds were near 90 mph (150 kmh) and holding steady from earlier today. Katia was located about 320 miles (515 km) west of Bermuda near 33.6 North and 70.1 West. She was moving to the north at 16 mph (26 kmh) and had a minimum central pressure of 970 millibars.

Those rough surf conditions are expected along the U.S. East coast, Bermuda, and east facing beaches in the Bahamas over the next couple of days. Dangerous rip currents and very rough surf are expected in these areas.

Lee's Remnants

On the GOES-13 satellite image, the large area of cloud cover over the eastern U.S. is indicative of Lee's remnants. Gulf and Atlantic moisture associated with the remnants of Tropical Depression Lee were absorbed into a large scale extra-tropical low pressure area currently over east-central Ohio. That low continues to generate widespread rain from the Mid-Atlantic to southwestern New England today. Flood and flash flood watches and warnings are in effect over the northern part of the mid-Atlantic states, eastern Pennsylvania and southwestern New England.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Hydrometeorological Prediction Center forecast today concerning Lee's remnants calls for "very heavy rain with embedded thunderstorms has been persisting along two rainbands across the mid-Atlantic into southwestern part of New England. Additional rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected today...with isolated amounts of up to 6 inches possible." The extra-tropical low is expected to dissipate slowly over the weekend.

Tropical Storm Maria

AIRS image of Maria on Sept. 9, 2011 › View larger image
NASA's AIRS instrument on the Aqua satellite took this infrared image of Tropical Storm Maria on Sept. 8 at 1:53 a.m. EDT. The infrared data shows the coldest cloud top temperatures (purple) and strongest thunderstorms with the heaviest rainfall were seen in patches north of the center.
Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
Tropical Storm Maria appears smaller than Lee, Katia and Nate on today's GOES-13 visible satellite image. Its cloud cover also appears to be less organized than Katia (understandable since she's a hurricane) and tropical storm Nate (that just formed late last night, Sept. 7). At 11 a.m. EDT today, Sept. 8, even the National Hurricane Center called Maria "not well organized."

At that time, Maria's maximum sustained winds decreased to 45 mph from just three hours beforehand. She was centered about 660 miles (1060 km) east of the Windward Islands near 13.0 North and 51.2 West. She was moving to the west near 22 mph (35 kmh), and is the fastest moving of all the Atlantic tropical cyclones today. Her minimum central pressure rose by three millibars in the last three hours to 1005 millibars, indicating weakening.

NASA's Aqua satellite's AIRS instrument caught an infrared image of Tropical Storm Maria on Sept. 8 at 1:53 a.m. EDT. The infrared data shows the coldest cloud top temperatures (-63F/-52C) and strongest thunderstorms with the heaviest rainfall were seen in patches north of the center and were not throughout the entire circulation.

Maria has prompted a tropical storm watch is in effect for the Leeward Islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Nevis and Saint Kitts. A tropical storm watch is also in effect for St. Barthelemy, St. Marteen, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, Dominica, St. Maartin, Saba and St. Eustatius.

The National Hurricane Center did note that "surface observations and satellite imagery suggest that Maria could be degenerating into a tropical wave," so forecasters are keeping a close eye on the storm.

Tropical Storm Nate

Nate appears as a small rounded area of clouds on today's GOES-13 satellite image. The rounded area of clouds coincides with the strongest thunderstorms and heaviest rainfall on Nate's southern side.

At 11 a.m. EDT on Sept. 8, Nate's maximum sustained winds were near 50 mph, and are expected to strengthen in the warm waters of the Bay. Nate was located about 125 miles (200 km) west of Campeche Mexico near 20.2 North and 92.4 West. Nate is creeping to the southeast near 1 mph (2 kmh) and has a minimum central pressure of 1001 millibars. The forecast from the National Hurricane Center calls for Nate to become a hurricane over the weekend and make landfall in eastern Mexico early next week.

A tropical storm warning is in effect from Chilitepec to Celestun, Mexico and a tropical storm watch is in effect from Celestun to Progreso.

The first and second week of September are typically known as being the peak of hurricane season, and Lee, Katia, Maria and Nate are living up to that call and giving satellites a lot to see.

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



September 6, 2011

GOES image of Tropical Storm Maria and Hurricane Katia › View larger image
GOES-13 captured the clouds associated with tropical Storm Lee's remnants, and a warm front along the U.S. East coast on Sept. 7 at 9:02 a.m. EDT. Hurricane Katia is moving between Bermuda and the U.S., while farther east is newborn Tropical Storm Maria.
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
NASA Panorama Sees Tropical Storm Maria Join Hurricane Katia

Newborn Tropical Storm Maria joined Hurricane Katia in the Atlantic Ocean today. Both storms were seen on an impressive panoramic satellite view from the GOES-13 satellite, one in the central Atlantic, and the other in the western Atlantic near the U.S.

An image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite today showed newborn Tropical Storm Maria about 1305 miles (2,095 km) east of the Lesser Antilles this morning, Sept. 7, at 11 a.m. EDT. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported Maria's center near 13.0 North and 42.0 West. Maria's maximum sustained winds were near 50 mph and is expected to strengthen over the next two days. Maria is moving to the west near 23 mph (37 kmh) and this general motion is expected to continue during the next two days. Estimated minimum central pressure is 1003 millibars. Currently, Maria is no threat to land but could pose a threat to the Lesser Antilles this weekend.

GOES-13 captured a panorama of the Atlantic Ocean today, as it does every day. Today, however, it revealed clouds associated with tropical Storm Lee's remnants over the U.S. east coast, Hurricane Katia is moving between Bermuda and the U.S., while farther east is newborn Tropical Storm Maria. The GOES image was created at NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Hurricane Katia appears much more impressive on the GOES-13 satellite imagery because she's a Category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale with maximum sustained winds near 85 mph. Although a hurricane, today's GOES-13 image did not reveal an eye in visible imagery.

Katia has prompted a tropical storm watch for Bermuda. At 11 a.m. EDT on Sept. 7, Katia's center was about 320 miles (515 km) southwest of Bermuda near 29.2 North and 68.8 West. It was moving toward the northwest near 10 mph (17 kmh) and is expected to turn toward the north-northwest then north-northeast tomorrow, moving between the eastern U.S. and Bermuda. Katia is about 410 miles in diameter, so tropical storm force-winds were already reaching Bermuda this morning.

The NHC continues to warn of large swells created by Katia to affect most of the U.S. east coast, Bermuda and greater Antilles. Katia is forecast to generate 1 to 2 inches of rain over Bermuda.

While all eyes are on Katia today as she affects Bermuda, forecasters will later be turning their attention to Maria who will be closing in on the Caribbean.

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



This AIRS visible image of System 95L was taken during the afternoon of Sept. 5 › View larger image
This visible image of System 95L was taken during the afternoon of Sept. 5 from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. The low pressure area's circulation is already visibly evident in its cloud pattern.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
This AIRS infrared image of System 95L was taken on Sept. 5 at 11:24 a.m. EDT. › View larger image
This infrared image of System 95L was taken on Sept. 5 at 11:24 a.m. EDT by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. The purple areas around the center of the storm indicate strong convection and thunderstorms with heavy rainfall.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
Aqua Satellite Gives 2 Views of Developing Atlantic Ocean System 95L

The peak of the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season is here, and the ocean basin is cranking out one tropical depression after another. NASA's Aqua satellite captured two views of a developing low pressure area called System 95L that may become the season's newest tropical depression.

Showers associated with a low pressure area called System 95Lappears to be getting organized in satellite imagery. NASA's Aqua satellite captured two views of the low pressure area from one instrument on Aqua. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite took a visible image of System 95L on Sept. 5, and the low pressure area's circulation was already visibly evident in its cloud pattern.

AIRS also provided an infrared look at the temperatures in System 95L's clouds. AIRS saw some high, cold cloud tops, indicating strong convection (rapidly rising air that condenses and forms thunderstorms that power a tropical cyclone), and strong thunderstorms with heavy rainfall around the center of circulation.

System 95L is currently center about 680 miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands. The National Hurricane Center noted that as System 95L keeps moving to the west or west-northwest at about 15 mph, it has a 70 percent chance of development into tropical depression 14 later today or on Sept. 7, 2011. If System 95L does strengthen and get a name, it would be called "Maria."

Meanwhile in the Caribbean, there's a second area that forecasters are watching for development, but it has only a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression. There are clouds and showers associated with a nearly stationary low in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

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