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Hurricane Sandy (Atlantic Ocean)
October 28, 2013

Mar. 7, 2013

[image-62]Hurricane Sandy came ashore in northern New Jersey Oct. 29, 2012, and as the powerful storm made its way along the East Coast it brought damage to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va. The Wallops Shoreline Protection Project has been managing the restoration efforts and released before and after photos of the shoreline.

At 8 a.m. EDT on Oct. 29, 2012, the National Hurricane Center reported tropical-storm-force winds were occurring along the coasts of southern New Jersey, Delaware and eastern Virginia. Tropical-storm-force winds extended as far inland as the central and southern Chesapeake Bay as Hurricane Sandy closed in for landfall.

Hurricane Sandy removed about 700 feet of protective berm and about 20 percent of the beach protecting Wallops Island, home to NASA Wallops' launch pads and launch support facilities.

NASA Wallops Recovery Continues from Hurricane Sandy

 


Sandy Updates


Nov. 9, 2012 - Comparing the Winds of Sandy and Katrina[image-78][image-94]

The scenes of devastation and wreckage that Hurricanes Sandy (2012) and Katrina (2005) left behind were tragically similar. Both storms flooded major cities, cut electric power to millions, and tore apart densely populated coastlines. But from a meteorological perspective, the storms were very different.

Katrina was a textbook tropical cyclone, with a compact, symmetrical wind field that whipped around a circular low-pressure center. Like most tropical cyclones, Katrina was a warm-core storm that drew its energy from the warm waters of the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Sandy had similar characteristics while it was blowing through the tropics. But as the storm moved northward, it merged with a weather system arriving from the west and started transitioning into an extra-tropical cyclone.

The names sound similar, but there are fundamental differences between the two types of storms. While tropical cyclones draw their energy from warm ocean waters, extra-tropical cyclones are fueled by sharp temperature contrasts between masses of warm and cool air. Extra-tropical cyclones also tend to be asymmetric, with broad wind and cloud fields shaped more like commas than circles. So when tropical cyclones become extra-tropical, their wind and cloud fields expand dramatically. Their strongest winds generally weaken during this process, but occasionally a transitioning storm retains hurricane force winds, as was the case with Sandy.

A pair of wind maps illustrated some of the differences. A map of Sandy's winds produced with data from a radar scatterometer on the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO) Oceansat-2, showed the strength and direction of Sandy's ocean surface winds on October 28, 2012. A map of Hurricane Katrina's winds was made from similar data acquired on August 28, 2005, by a radar scatterometer on NASA's retired QuickSCAT satellite.

The most noticeable difference is the extent of the strong wind fields. For Katrina, winds over 65 kilometers per hour stretched about 500 kilometers (300 miles) from edge to edge. For Sandy, winds of that intensity stretched 1,500 kilometers (900 miles). "Katrina's winds were more intense, but they covered less area," said Brian McNoldy, a University of Miami meteorologist who authored a Washington Post article explaining why Sandy's storm surge caused so much damage. "When that boils down to storm surge, Katrina was capable of generating a locally higher surge, but Sandy was capable of generating a destructive surge over a larger length of coastline."

Another difference is the location of the strongest winds. For tropical cyclones in the northern hemisphere, the strongest winds are usually just east of the eye amidst a ring of violent thunderstorms called the eyewall. "The windfield of Katrina fits this pattern, but for Sandy the weakest winds are to the east-a hint that Sandy has already begun interacting with a system to its northeast and a blocking high to its northeast," noted Penn State meteorologist Jenni Evans, State College, Penn.

Data courtesy of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's QuikSCAT and the Indian Space Research Organization OceanSat-2 missions. Jenni Evans, Bryan Stiles, Brian McNoldy, and Alexander Fore contributed to this feature.

Adam Voiland
NASA's Earth Observatory
 


[image-110][image-126]Nov. 7, 2012 - Hurricane Sandy Changes Coastline in New Jersey

On October 29, 2012, lives were changed forever along the shores of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and in the two dozen United States affected by what meteorologists are calling Superstorm Sandy. The landscape of the East Coast was also changed, though no geologist would ever use the word "forever" when referring to the shape of a barrier island.

Two aerial photographs show a portion of the New Jersey coastal town of Mantoloking, just north of where Hurricane Sandy made landfall. Both photographs were taken by the Remote Sensing Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The after image on October 31, 2012; the before image was acquired by the same group on March 18, 2007. The images were acquired from an altitude of roughly 7,500 feet, using a Trimble Digital Sensor System.

The Mantoloking Bridge cost roughly $25 million when it was opened in 2005 to replace a bridge built in 1938. After Sandy passed through on October 29, 2012, the bridge was covered in water, sand, and debris from houses; county officials closed it because they considered it unstable.

On the barrier island, entire blocks of houses along Route 35 (also called Ocean Boulevard) were damaged or completely washed away by the storm surge and wind. Fires raged in the town from natural gas lines that had ruptured and ignited. A new inlet was cut across the island, connected the Atlantic Ocean and the Jones Tide Pond.

Mike Carlowicz
NASA's Earth Observatory


Nov. 2, 2012 -  Satellite Still Shows Sandy's Remnant Clouds Over Eastern Canada and the Northeastern U.S.

[image-236]Satellite imagery from Nov. 2 showed that Sandy's remnant clouds continue to linger over Canada and the northeastern U.S.

The National Weather Service map for Nov. 2, 2012 showed two areas of low pressure over eastern Canada, near Quebec. That's where the remnants of Sandy are located and the storm's massive cloud cover continues to linger over a large area. That low pressure area is associated with Sandy's remnants.

A visible image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite at 1:31 p.m. EDT on Nov. 2, 2012 showed the remnant clouds from Sandy still linger over the Great Lakes east to New England. In Canada, Sandy's clouds stretch from Newfoundland and Labrador west over Quebec, Ottawa and Toronto. The GOES image was created by NASA's GOES Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

By Monday, Nov. 6, the National Weather Service map projects that the low pressure area associated with Sandy's remnants will be offshore.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


[image-142][image-158]Nov. 1, 2012 - NASA Adds Up Hurricane Sandy's Rainfall from Space

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, or TRMM, satellite acts as a rain gauge in space as it orbits the Earth's tropics. As TRMM flew over Hurricane Sandy since its birth on Oct. 21 it was gathering data that has now been mapped to show how much rain the storm dropped along the U.S. eastern seaboard.

Much of the recent deadly flooding along the northeastern United States coastlines was caused by super storm Sandy's storm swell. Strong winds from Sandy persistently pushed Atlantic Ocean waters toward the coast. High tides that occurred at the same time also magnified the effects of the storm swell. Some flooding was also caused by long periods of heavy rainfall that made rivers and streams overflow their banks.

The TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA) is done at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The MPA monitors rainfall over a large area of the globe (from 60 degrees North latitude to 60 degrees South latitude). MPA rainfall totals over the eastern United States were calculated for the period from October 24-31, 2012 when super storm Sandy was making it's catastrophic transit through the area.

The rainfall analysis indicated that the heaviest rainfall totals of greater than 260mm (10.2 inches) were over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Rainfall totals of over 180mm (~ 7 inches) occurred over land in many areas near the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to South Carolina.

The reported death toll from hurricane Sandy's flooding and high winds has now reached above 120. Over 70 deaths were caused by Sandy in the Caribbean and recent reports bring the total to greater than 50 in the United States.

NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center issued their last advisory on Sandy's remnants on Oct. 31, stating that "multiple centers of circulation in association with the remnants of Sandy can be found across the lower Great Lakes."

A visible image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite at 1:31 p.m. EDT on Nov. 1, 2012 showed the remnant clouds from Sandy still lingered over the Great Lakes and stretched east to New England and north into Canada.

The book on this super storm is now closed, though the clean-up will continue for a long time to come.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


Oct. 31, 2012 - NASA/NOAA's Suomi NPP Captures Night-time View of Sandy's Landfall



NPP Captures night-time view of Hurricane Sandy's historic landfall on the New Jersey coast during the night of Oct. 29
› View larger image
As Hurricane Sandy made a historic landfall on the New Jersey coast during the night of Oct. 29, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on NASA/NOAA's Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite captured this night-time view of the storm. This image provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison is a composite of several satellite passes over North America taken 16 to18 hours before Sandy's landfall.



Satellite Captures the Life and Death of Hurricane Sandy on Halloween

[image-602]Hurricane Sandy is giving up the ghost on Halloween over Penn. As the storm weakened to a remnant low pressure area the NASA GOES Project released an animation of NOAA's GOES-13 satellite imagery covering Hurricane Sandy's entire life.
[image-572]
The GOES-13 satellite is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NASA's GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates images and animations from GOES data.

The animation of Sandy's life runs from Oct. 23 through 31. It begins when Tropical Depression 18 strengthened into Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 23, 2012. The animation shows Hurricane Sandy blowing from the Caribbean to the mid-Atlantic where it became wedged between a stationary cold front over the Appalachians and a static high pressure air mass over maritime Canada. The air masses blocked the storm from moving north or east, as it would normally. Instead, their wintery dynamics amplified Sandy and drove it ashore in the mid-Atlantic.

Sandy then became a ferocious Nor'easter that brought record storm surges to coastal N.J. and N.Y., plus blizzard conditions to the mountains. Unprecedented chaos occurred in lower New York City, such as flooding the subway system on the evening of Oct. 29. Total damage by the storm was estimated at $20 billion dollars.

NOAA's National Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (NOAA/HPC) issued an advisory at 5 a.m. EDT on Oct. 31 that stated there was "no discernible surface circulation." Sandy had weakened to a surface trough (elongated area) of low pressure over western Penn.

There are a lot of warnings and watches in effect as Sandy continues to wind down. Gale warnings and small craft advisories are in effect for portions of the great lakes. Small craft advisories are in effect along much of the Mid-Atlantic and northeast coasts.

Flood and coastal flood watches, warnings and advisories are in effect over portions of the Mid-Atlantic and northeast states. Coastal flooding along portions of the Great Lakes is also possible.

Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories remain in effect for the mountains of southwest Pennsylvania, western Maryland, West Virginia, eastern Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, and extreme western North Carolina.

Sandy is appropriately dying on Halloween, but the storm's effects will linger for some time.
 

[image-588]

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


Oct. 30, 2012 - NASA Satellites Capture Hurricane Sandy's Massive Size



Ocean surface winds for Hurricane Sandy›View larger image
This image shows ocean surface winds for Hurricane Sandy observed at 9:00 p.m. PDT Oct. 28 (12:00 a.m. EDT Oct. 29) by the OSCAT radar scatterometer on the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO) OceanSat-2 satellite. Colors indicate wind speed and arrows indicate direction. The image shows the large extent of high winds associated with this system. Radar scatterometry enables frequent, more than once per day, observations of Earth's winds over the ocean. This provides additional information to weather forecasters to improve predictions of what areas will be affected by hurricane-level winds. Image credit: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

CloudSat's view of Hurricane Sandy › View larger image
CloudSat, flying in formation with the A-TRAIN constellation of satellites, provides detailed radar observations of clouds including the vertical distribution of precipitation and cloud structure.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
CloudSat's View of Hurricane Sandy

NASA's CloudSat spacecraft overpassed Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012 at approximately 11:25 a.m. PDT (2:25 p.m. EDT) just as Sandy was approaching the Atlantic coastline. Sandy contained estimated maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (78 knots).

CloudSat, flying in formation with the A-TRAIN constellation of satellites, provides detailed radar observations of clouds including the vertical distribution of precipitation and cloud structure. At the expense of horizontal resolution, CloudSat observations produce detailed vertical resolution of clouds and precipitation starting at the surface through 19 miles (30 kilometers) in the atmosphere. CloudSat profiles the clouds and distinguishes the amount and type of water, liquid or ice, found throughout these storm systems.

CloudSat overpassed an estimated 137 miles (220 kilometers) to the west of Sandy's storm center, which at the time of the overpass was still over the Atlantic Ocean. The satellite overpassed a wide area of moderate precipitation stretching across New York to coastal North Carolina. Maximum cloud top heights from the CloudSat overpass are estimated at 7.5 to 8 miles (12 to 13 kilometers) in height. The brighter colors (orange, red and light pinks) represent greater intensity of the backscattered radar signal from the satellite. These brighter colors correlate to larger raindrops, heavier precipitation and ice or hail depending on the vertical level. The shades of blues and greens represent smaller amounts water and ice particles that correspond to thinner clouds type (cirrus and anvil tops). A nearly continuous area of light and moderate precipitation stretches across the mid-Atlantic region. Near the surface of these areas of light to moderate precipitation, the radar signal measured by CloudSat isn't as strong due to larger sized water droplets that tend to weaken the strength of the signal. The CloudSat observations are an excellent tool for determining cloud layers and heights, precipitating cloud structures and other cloud properties.

Part of the CloudSat overpass over the ocean just off the coast of Virginia and North Carolina (denoted by blue line) reveals small pockets of shallow "closed cell" cumulus clouds less than 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) in height. Closed cell cumulus clouds generally represent more stable atmospheric conditions and occur on the back side of mid-latitude cyclones as is the case with Sandy moving onshore.





› Download video (mp4) NOAA's GOES satellites captured a global view of Hurricane Sandy's birth to landfall. This animation of NOAA's GOES-13 and GOES-15 satellite observations from Oct. 21-30, 2012, shows the birth of Tropical Storm Sandy in the Caribbean Sea, the intensification and movement of Sandy in the Atlantic Ocean along the U.S. East Coast, and Hurricane Sandy make landfall in New Jersey on Oct. 29 and move inland to Pennsylvania.
Credit: NASA GOES Project

MODIS captured a visible image Sandy's massive circulation on Oct. 29 at 18:20 UTC (2:20 p.m. EDT).› View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image Sandy's massive circulation on Oct. 29 at 18:20 UTC (2:20 p.m. EDT). Sandy covers 1.8 million square miles, from the Mid-Atlantic to the Ohio Valley, into Canada and New England.
Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team


 [image-174][image-190]NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image Sandy's massive circulation. Sandy covers 1.8 million square miles, from the Mid-Atlantic to the Ohio Valley, into Canada and New England.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image Sandy's massive circulation on Oct. 29 at 18:20 UTC (2:20 p.m. EDT). Sandy covered 1.8 million square miles, from the Mid-Atlantic to the Ohio Valley, into Canada and New England. Sandy made landfall hours after the MODIS image was taken.

Sandy Was Still a Hurricane After Landfall

On Oct. 29, 2012 at 11 p.m. EDT, the center of Hurricane Sandy was just 10 miles (15 km) southwest of Philadelphia, Penn., near 39.8 North and 75.4 West. Sandy was still a hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph (120 kph) and moving northwest at 18 mph (30 kph). Sandy's minimum central pressure had risen to 952 millibars. The hurricane-force-winds extended 90 miles (150 km) east of the center of circulation. Tropical-storm-force winds, however, went much further, as far as 485 miles (780 km).

NASA's GOES Project created a "full-disk view" of NOAA's GOES satellite data, that captured a global view of Hurricane Sandy's birth to landfall. The animation of NOAA's GOES-13 and GOES-15 satellite observations were combined from Oct. 21-30, 2012 and showed the birth of Tropical Storm Sandy in the Caribbean Sea, the intensification and movement of Sandy in the Atlantic Ocean along the U.S. East Coast, and Hurricane Sandy make landfall in N.J. on Oct. 29 and move inland to Penn.

Sandy's Inland Movement on Oct. 29

At 2 a.m. EDT, on Oct. 29, Sandy's center was located just south of Lancaster, Penn. At 5 a.m. EDT, Sandy continued moving to the west-northwest at 15 knots (24 kph) and was located just 15 miles (24 km) east of York, Penn., and 90 miles (145 km) west of Philadelphia. Sandy was centered near 40.5 North and 77.0 West. Sandy's minimum central pressure continues to rise and was 960 millibars.

Sandy's sustained winds were near 65 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend almost 1,000 miles. According to Weather Channel, the winds are going to continue being a problem from the northeast into the Ohio Valley today. The strongest winds are being experienced now in the Great Lakes Region.

Widespread Damages

Hurricane Sandy has caused significant damage in New York City and along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Flooding has been reported from Maine to Va. During the morning hours on Oct. 29 (Eastern Daylight Time), nearly eight million people were without power this morning up and down the East coast. The Appalachian Mtns. received some heavy snow from western Md. down to Tenn. and N.C. As much as 26 inches of snow had fallen in Garrett County, Md. by the morning of Oct. 30. According to Reuters news, flooding along the U.S. East Coast was extensive.

Watches and Warnings in Effect on Oct. 29

According to the NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (NOAA/HPC), there are high-wind warnings in effect including gale force winds over the coastal waters of the Mid-Atlantic States, New York and New England. Storm warnings are in effect for portions of the Mid-Atlantic coastal waters. Flood and flash flood watches and warnings are in effect over portions of the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern states.

NOAA's HPC forecast on Oct. 29 calls for Sandy to move in a "west-northwest motion with reduced forward speed is expected today into western Penn. with a turn north into western New York tonight, Oct. 30. The cyclone will move into Canada on Wed., Oct. 31. Steady weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours."

NOAA/HPC warns that gale-force winds will continue over parts of the Mid-Atlantic through New England on Oct. 29 and storm surge and tides can still cause normally dry areas along or near the coast to be flooded, especially during high tide.

Rain and Snowfall Forecasts from NOAA

NOAA/HPC forecasts large rainfall totals for many areas in Sandy's reach. Far northeastern N.C. could expect 3 to 6 inches, while 4 to 8 inches more are possible over the Mid-Atlantic States on Oct. 30. Both areas can see isolated higher totals. Between 1 and 3 inches are possible with up to 5 inches in the southern tier of New York state and northeastward through New England.

Snowfall between 2 and 3 feet are expected in the W.Va. mountains with higher totals through Oct. 30. Snowfall of 1 to 2 feet in the southwestern Va. and Ky. Mountains are expected, and between 12 and 18 inches along the N.C. and Tenn. Border and in western Md.

NOAA/HPC Provided Selected Rainfall Totals from the Storm:

WASHINGTON DC

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL 4.11

DELAWARE

MILFORD 9.55
DOVER AFB 8.46
WILMINGTON ARPT 4.17

MASSACHUSETTS

EAST MILTON 2.87
FITCHBURG (FIT) 2.32
NANTUCKET MEMORIAL ARPT 2.00

MARYLAND

PATUXENT RIVER NAS 7.90
OCEAN CITY MUNI ARPT 7.16
SALISBURY RGNL ARPT 7.10
BALTIMORE SCIENCE CENTER 6.40
ANNAPOLIS US NAVAL ACADEMY 6.29
BALTIMORE/WASH INTL ARPT 5.93
HAGERSTOWN RGNL ARPT 4.11

NORTH CAROLINA

HATTERAS/BILLY MITCHELL AP 6.26
ELIZABETH CITY MUNI ARPT 3.46
NEW BERN/CRAVEN CO. ARPT 2.34

NEW HAMPSHIRE

JAFFREY MUNI ARPT 3.63
NASHUA/BOIRE FIELD 1.98
MOUNT WASHINGTON 1.87
MANCHESTER AIRPARK 1.56

NEW JERSEY

WILDWOOD CREST 11.62
WEST CAPE MAY 9.37
WOODBINE 7.82
ATLANTIC CITY 8.01
ESTELLE HARBOR 6.57
MILLVILLE MUNI ARPT 5.28

NEW YORK

NIAGARA FALLS INTL ARPT 2.69
JAMESTOWN AIRPORT 2.46
ROCHESTER/MONROE CO. ARPT 2.19
PENN YAN AIRPORT 1.74
BUFFALO FORECAST OFFICE 1.46

OHIO

CLEVELAND-HOPKINS INTL ARPT 3.14
ASHTABULA CO. ARPT 2.77
YOUNGSTOWN MUNI ARPT 2.54
WOOSTER/WAYNE CO. ARPT 2.46
AKRON/FULTON INTL ARPT 2.19
NEW PHILADELPHIA/CLEVER FIELD 2.04
AKRON-CANTON RGNL ARPT 2.04
CLEVELAND/BURKE LAKEFRONT 1.51

PENNSYLVANIA

LIGONIER 3.62
YORK ARPT 3.27
JOHNSTOWN/CAMBRIA CO. ARPT 3.22
ERIE INTL ARPT 3.01
PHILADELPHIA INTL ARPT 2.36
PITTSBURGH/ALLEGHENY CO. ARPT 2.35
LANCASTER AIRPORT 2.29
HARRISBURG/CAPITAL CITY ARPT 2.20
PHILADELPHIA/NE PHIL. ARPT 1.93

RHODE ISLAND

PAWTUCKET/NORTH CENTRAL ST ARPT 1.32

VIRGINIA

OCEANA NAS/SOUCEK 9.54
WALLOPS ISLAND 8.40
PURCELLVILLE 7.89
NEWPORT NEWS/WILLIAMSBG AP 7.31
LANGLEY AFB/HAMPTON 7.17
NORFOLK INTL ARPT 5.91
WASHINGTON/DULLES 4.78
NORFOLK NAS 3.29
RICHMOND 2.39

WEST VIRGINIA

MORGANTOWN/HART FIELD 2.95
SPRINGFIELD 2.77
PARKERSBURG/WILSON 2.01
HUNTINGTON/TRI-STATE ARPT 1.98
WHEELING/OHIO CO. ARPT 1.88

SNOWFALL TOTALS

NORTH CAROLINA

6 N BAKERSVILLE 8 INCHES
6 NW LANSING 5 INCHES
4 NW FAUST 6 INCHES

PENNSYLVANIA

MOUNT DAVIS 9 INCHES

VIRGINIA

1 E TAZEWELL 5 INCHES

WEST VIRGINIA

BOWDEN 14 INCHES
CANVAS 12 INCHES
2 S COAL CITY 12 INCHES
SUMMERSVILLE 10 INCHES

WIND GUSTS


ISLIP NY 90 MPH
2 N TOMPKINSVILLE NJ 90 MPH
SURF CITY NJ 89 MPH
TUCKERTON NJ 88 MPH
1 N MONTCLAIR NJ 88 MPH
PLUM ISLAND NY 84 MPH
CUTTYHUNK MA 83 MPH
GROTON CT 76 MPH
HARVEY CEDARS NJ 75 MPH

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

 


Oct. 29, 2012 - NASA Examines Hurricane Sandy as it Affects the Eastern U.S.



Infrared image of Hurricane Sandy, another weather front to the west and cold air coming down from Canada at 2:17 p.m. EDT Oct. 29. The hurricane center is the darkest › View larger image
NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft captured this infrared image of Hurricane Sandy, another weather front to the west and cold air coming down from Canada at 2:17 p.m. EDT Oct. 29. The hurricane center is the darkest purple area in the Atlantic just to the east of the New Jersey coast, reflecting Sandy's areas of heaviest rainfall. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 


An animation of satellite observations from Oct. 26-29, 2012, shows Hurricane Sandy move along the U.S. East coast and into the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S. Sandy had still not made landfall by the end of this animation. This visualization was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., using observations from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

On Monday, Oct. 29, Hurricane Sandy was ravaging the Mid-Atlantic with heavy rains and tropical storm force winds as it closed in for landfall. Earlier, NASA's CloudSat satellite passed over Hurricane Sandy and its radar dissected the storm get a profile or sideways look at the storm. NASA's Aqua satellite provided an infrared view of the cloud tops and NOAA's GOES-13 satellite showed the extent of the storm. The National Hurricane Center reported at 11 a.m. EDT on Oct. 29 that Hurricane Sandy is "expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and coastal hurricane winds plus heavy Appalachian snows."

 

[image-556]CloudSat Provides a Profile of Hurricane Sandy

To understand the structure, extent and behavior of Sandy, NASA's CloudSat passed over Sandy at 1832 UTC (10:32 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, when the storm was about 335.5 miles (540 km) southeast of Charleston, S.C. CloudSat data was used to create a profile image of Hurricane Sandy by Shigeru Suzuki at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

At the time of the image Sandy's maximum sustained winds were near 75 mph and Sandy had a minimum pressure of 961 millibars making the storm a Category 1 hurricane. Hurricane Sandy was moving slowly to the northeast at 11 mph almost parallel to the southeast United States coast and directly traversing the Gulf Stream.

CloudSat passed over Sandy just west of the hurricane's inner core. Light to moderate precipitation associated with parts of the outer bands of Hurricane Sandy were moving on shore into parts of North Carolina where CloudSat intersected the system. CloudSat showed heavier showers and thunderstorms further south and east of the Atlantic coastline over the open water.

"The CloudSat signal tends to attenuate or dampen in these areas of heavier convection when rain drops become larger than 3 mm (0.11 inch) in diameter," said Natalie Tourville, a researcher who works with CloudSat data at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo. "The cloud shield associated with Hurricane Sandy extended well over 1,000 km from the storm center covering parts of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee and Virginia and West Virginia with mid and high level cloudiness areas of cirrus and altocumulus," she said.

Sandy Pounding the Mid-Atlantic on Oct. 29

On Oct. 29 at 1 a.m. EDT the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that the center of Hurricane Sandy was located near latitude 37.5 north and longitude 71.5 west. This was about 260 miles (415 km) south-southeast of New York City, and 205 miles (330 km) southeast of Atlantic City, N.J. Sandy was moving north-northwest at 18 mph. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 90 mph (140 kph).

According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 485 miles (780 km). Sustained tropical-storm-force winds are occurring along the coasts of southern New Jersey, Delaware, and eastern Virginia, and extend as far inland as the central and southern Chesapeake Bay.

The minimum central pressure estimated from hurricane hunter Aircraft data is 943 millibars, which dropped from 946 millibars at 8 a.m. EDT. A drop in atmospheric pressure indicates intensification.

NHC noted that surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle and can vary greatly over short distances. Because of Sandy's large wind field, elevated water levels could span multiple tide cycles resulting in repeated and extended periods of coastal and bayside flooding. Dangerous surf conditions will continue from Florida through New England for the next couple of days.

[image-252][image-268]NOAA's GOES-13 Satellite Shows Sandy's Extent

NOAA's GOES-13 satellite captured a visible image of Hurricane Sandy battering the U.S. East coast on Monday, Oct. 29 at 9:10 a.m. EDT that showed the immense extent of the storm. The image was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Tropical Storm force winds extend almost 500 miles from the center making it almost 1,000 miles in diameter.

Other watches and warnings for gale, storm and high winds are in force to the north of the tropical storm warning area and issued by the National Weather Service. Hurricane local statements have also been issued for those areas under tropical storm warning.

NASA's Aqua Satellite Infrared Data Shows Sandy's Strength

Infrared satellite imagery provides temperature data to forecasters that identify the cloud heights and strength of different parts of a storm. Basically, the higher the cloud top is, the colder the temperature, and the stronger the storm. Strongest storms have the potential for the heaviest rainfall rates.

To measure those cloud top temperatures, NASA uses the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite. The AIRS instrument captured infrared imagery of Hurricane Sandy on Monday, Oct. 29 at 0711 UTC (3:11 a.m. EDT) that showed some strong thunderstorms and the extent of Sandy's reach from the Carolinas into the Ohio Valley and eastern Canada. The thunderstorms in the purple areas were reaching high into the troposphere where cloud top temperatures are as cold as -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius).

Winds from Hurricane Sandy

At 11 a.m. EDT on Oct. 29, the National Hurricane Center said that Hurricane-force winds are expected along the U.S. East Coast between Chincoteague, Va.and Chatham, Mass. This Includes the Tidal Potomac from Cobb Island to Smith Point, the middle and upper Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay and the coasts of the northern Delmarva Peninsula, New Jersey, the New York City area, Long Island, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Tropical-storm-force winds are expected north of Chatham to Merrimack River Mass., the lower Chesapeake Bay and south of Chincoteague, Va. to Duck, N.C., the northern endpoint of the Tropical Storm Warning.

Rain and Snow Expected from Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is expected to bring heavy rainfall to the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S., and snowfall to the mountain areas.

The National Hurricane Center bulletin on Oct. 29 at 8 a.m. EDT, noted that rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches are expected over far northeastern N.C. with isolated maximum totals of 8 inches possible. Rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches are expected over portions of the Mid-Atlantic States, including the Delmarva Peninsula with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible. Rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 5 inches are possible from the southern tier of New York state northeastward through New England.

Snowfall is another expectation from Sandy as Arctic air sits to the west. Blizzard warnings are posted from western Maryland to southwestern Virginia today. Snow accumulations of 2 to 3 feet are expected in the mountains of W.Va. with locally higher totals today through Wed., Oct. 31. Between 1to 2 feet of snow is expected in the mountains of southwestern Va. to the Ky. Border with 12 to 18 inches of snow in the mountains near the N.C. and Tenn. border and in the mountains of Western Md.

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



Oct. 29, 2012 - NASA's TRMM Satellite Analyzes Hurricane Sandy in 3-D



NASA's TRMM Satellite Analyzes Hurricane Sandy in 3-D
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NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, or TRMM satellite can measure rainfall rates and cloud heights in tropical cyclones, and was used to create an image to look into Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 28, 2012. Owen Kelly of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. created this image of Hurricane Sandy using TRMM data.

At 2:20 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Oct. 28, Hurricane Sandy was a marginal category 1 hurricane and its eyewall is modest, as TRMM reveals, which gives forecasters and scientists hints about its possible future strength.

The eyewall appeared somewhat compact with its 40 km (24.8 miles) diameter. The eyewall contained only relatively light precipitation, and none of Sandy's eyewall storm cells managed to burst through, or even reach, the tropopause which has about a 10 km (6.2 miles) height at mid-latitudes. Evidence of the weak updrafts in the eyewall comes from the fact that the TRMM radar's reflectivity stayed under 40 dBZ, a commonly cited signal strength at which updrafts can be vigorous enough to form hail and to lift smaller ice particles up through the tropopause and into the stratosphere.

But placed in context, the TRMM-observed properties of Hurricane Sandy's eyewall are evidence of remarkable vigor. Most hurricanes only have well-formed and compact eyewalls at category 3 strength or higher. Sandy was not only barely a category 1 hurricane, but Sandy was also experiencing strong wind shear, Sandy was going over ocean typically too cold to form hurricanes, and Sandy had been limping along as a marginal hurricane for several days.

Kelley said, "With infrared satellite observations used in imagery one can speculate about what the sort of convective (rising air that form the thunderstorms that make up a tropical cyclone) storms are developing under the hurricane's cloud tops, but Sandy was sneaking up the East Coast too far out at sea for land-based radars to provide definitive observations of the rain regions inside of the hurricane's clouds." The radar on the TRMM satellite could provide this missing information during this overflight of Hurricane Sandy.

The TRMM satellite also showed that the super-sized rainband that extended to the west and north of the center did contain vigorous storm cells, as indicated by the red regions of radar reflectivity in excess of 40 dBZ. This rainband is expected to lash the coast well before the hurricane's center make landfall. Even further west, at the upper left corner of the image, one can see two small storm cells. These storm cells are the southern-most tip of the independent weather system that is coming across the United States and that is expected to merge and possibly reinvigorate the remnants of Hurricane Sandy after Sandy makes landfall.

On Oct. 29 at 5 a.m. EDT the National Hurricane Center noted that the center of Hurricane Sandy was located near latitude 35.9 north and longitude 70.5 west. This was about 410 miles east southeast of Washington, D.C. Sandy was moving north at 15 mph and its winds had increased since Oct. 28. Maximum sustained winds are now near 85 mph. Tropical Storm force winds extend almost 500 miles from the center.

At 8 a.m. EDT on Oct. 29, the National Hurricane Center reported tropical-storm-force winds were occurring along the coasts of southern New Jersey Delaware and eastern Virginia and extend as far inland as the central and southern Chesapeake Bay.

Sandy is forecast to make landfall along the southern new jersey coast tonight. However sandy will severely impact the region well before it comes ashore.

TRMM stands for Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, and it is a joint mission between NASA and JAXA, the Japan Space Exploration Agency. Some of the questions about hurricanes left unanswered by the TRMM satellite will be explored by the Global Precipitation Measuring (GPM) satellite scheduled for launch in 2014. For more information, visit http://pmm.gsfc.nasa.gov.

Text credit: Owen Kelley
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
 


Oct. 28, 2012 - NASA Satellites See Sandy Expand as Storm Intensifies



This animation of observations from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite (Oct. 26-28, 2012) shows Hurricane Sandy move out of the Bahamas and its western clouds spread over the U.S. eastern seaboard. The circulation is evident over the Atlantic Ocean as Sandy moved northward. This visualization was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. (Credit: NASA Goes Project)
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   [image-300][image-316][image-332]Hurricane Sandy is a Category 1 hurricane on Oct. 28, according to the National Hurricane Center. Sandy has drawn energy from a cold front to become a huge storm covering a large area of the eastern United States. NASA satellite imagery provided a look at Sandy's 2,000-mile extent.

Hurricane Sandy's reach has grown on satellite imagery, and during the morning of Oct. 28, the storm intensified as there was a large pressure drop. The atmospheric pressure dropped to 951 millibars during the morning of Oct. 28, an eyewall formed. When a storm's atmospheric pressure drops by a large amount as Sandy has done, it's a sign the storm is strengthening tremendously.

Sandy continues to merge with a cold front. The combination is expected to bring heavy rainfall and tropical-storm-force sustained winds for a couple of days to the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States, and cause flooding, downed trees and power outages.

The National Hurricane Center warned early on Sunday, Oct. 28, that "Sandy expected to bring life-threatening storm surge flooding to the Mid-Atlantic coast including Long Island sound and New York Harbor, winds expected to be near hurricane force at landfall." Storm surge in the Long Island sound is expected between 6 and 11 feet.

NASA and NOAA Satellite Imagery Reveal Sandy's Super-Size

The MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 26 at 16:10 UTC (12:10 p.m. EDT). The image showed the massive extent of its clouds, covering about 2,000 miles. Sandy's center was in the Bahamas at that time, and an eye was clearly visible. Sandy's western clouds were brushing the southeastern U.S. coast during the time of the image.

NOAA's GOES-13 satellite captured a visible image of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 28 at 1302 UTC (9:02 a.m. EDT) that showed the massive extent of the storm, covering about one-third of the U.S. A line of clouds from the Gulf of Mexico stretching north into Sandy's western circulation are associated with the cold front that Sandy is merging with. Sandy's western cloud edge was already over the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S.

NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Super-Soaking Sandy

This hybrid Sandy is also a super soaker. NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite can measure rainfall from space. Oct. 27 at 1907 UTC (3:07 p.m. EDT), NASA's TRMM satellite saw that rain associated with Hurricane Sandy storm's center, was moderate and falling at a rate of 20 to 40 mm per hour (1.57 inches per hour). The heaviest rainfall at the time of the image was falling west of the center (and closest to the U.S. East Coast) at a rate of more than 2 inches (50 mm) per hour.

During the morning hours of Oct. 28, Sandy has been maintaining a small area of deep (strong) convection (rising air that forms the thunderstorms that make up the hurricane) near the center.

The National Hurricane Center has issued Flood Watches for the U.S. East coast and interior areas because Sandy is huge, slow moving and can drop up to 2 inches of rain per hour.

Rainfall Totals Forecast

As of Oct. 28, 2012, the National Hurricane Center predicts rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches over far northeastern North Carolina with isolated maximum totals of 8 inches possible. Rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches are expected over portions of the mid-Atlantic states, including the Delmarva Peninsula, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible.

Rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 5 inches are possible from the southern tier of New York State northeastward through New England.

Watches and Warnings in Effect

Watches and warnings effective Sunday, Oct. 28, included a tropical storm warning in effect from Cape Fear to Duck, N.C., the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and Bermuda.

The tropical storm warnings are somewhat misleading for this massive storm because it is expected to bring its tropical-storm-force winds far inland over a period of days. As a result there are high wind warnings and flood watches up and down the mid-Atlantic coast and northeastern United States that extend quite a distance inland, and are too numerous to mention. For weather warnings in your area, visit www.weather.gov and put in your zip code or city and state.

Where is Sandy on Sunday, Oct. 28?

On Oct. 28 at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC) Sandy's maximum sustained winds were still near 75 mph (120 kph). The National Hurricane Center discussion noted that "there is still some short-term potential for sandy to intensify as a tropical cyclone...especially since it will be traversing the Gulf Stream today." Sandy's center was near 32.1 North latitude and 73.1 west longitude, about 260 miles (420 km) southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. That's also about 395 miles (635 km) south of New York City.

Sandy is moving northeast near 10 mph (17 kph) and is expected to continue in that direction for the rest of the day today. However, on Monday, Oct. 28, Sandy is expected to be drawn back to the coast by a low pressure area and turn north and northwest. Sandy will approach the coast of the mid-Atlantic for a landfall late Monday night, Oct. 28.

Storm Surge a Serious Factor

Storm surge is expected to be big factor as Sandy approaches the mid-Atlantic coast. Very rough surf and high and dangerous waves are expected to be coupled with the full moon. The National Hurricane Center noted that the combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters. The water could reach the following depths above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.

The National Hurricane Center identified the following areas for storm surges:


  • South of Surf City, N.C., 1 to 3 feet
  • North of Surf City, N.C. including Pamlico/Albemarle Sounds, 4 to 6 feet
  • Southeastern Virginia and the DelMarVa (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia) peninsula including the lower Chesapeake Bay, 2 to 4 feet
  • Upper and middle Chesapeake Bay, 1 to 2 feet
  • Long Island Sound and Raritan Bay, including New York Harbor, 6 to 11 feet
  • Elsewhere from Ocean City, Md., to the Conn./R.I. border, 4 to 8 feet
  • Conn./R.I. border to the south shore of Cape Cod including Buzzards Bay, 3 to 5 feet

Powerful Winds Continue Expanding

When a storm becomes extra-tropical and its core changes from warm to cold, the strongest winds spread out and the storm expands. According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane-force winds again expanded on Sunday, Oct. 28, from 100 miles to 175 miles from the center. Tropical-storm-force winds that extended out 450 miles from the center on Sat. Oct. 27 now extend to 520 miles from the center.

The wind field of Sandy will continue to grow in size during the next couple of days and impact states from the Carolinas, west to the Ohio Valley, and north into Maine and Canada.

Updates on Sandy are available from the National Hurricane Center at: www.nhc.noaa.gov.

NASA satellites will continue to provide forecasters at the National Hurricane Center with infrared, visible, cloud height, temperature and rainfall data as Sandy continues to affect the U.S. East Coast.

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


Oct. 27, 2012 - NASA Satellites See Sandy Become a Hurricane Again and Strong Winds Expand

[image-220][image-348][image-364]Sandy weakened to a Tropical Storm and strengthened back into a hurricane early on Saturday Oct. 27, and its pressure was dropping, meaning that the storm is intensifying as it becomes an extra-tropical storm. NASA's TRMM satellite identified heavy rain falling within the system and NOAA's GOES satellites provided a picture of Sandy's massive size.

NASA's TRMM satellite identified a huge span of moderate rainfall with heaviest rains happening north and east of Sandy's center. NOAA's GOES satellite imagery clearly shows the extent of Sandy's massive cloud cover and the long line of clouds associated with the cold front that stretches from Maine to the Gulf coast.

Sandy continues to merge with a cold front and is creating a monster storm with a massive reach. The combination is expected to bring heavy rainfall and tropical-storm-force sustained winds for a couple of days to the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S. beginning late Sunday. Sandy is truly the "bride of Frankenstorm" because the storm's circulation is over 2,000 miles and the wind field of tropical-storm-force winds is hundreds of miles in diameter. The Weather Channel cited a concern for power outages from Maine to Virginia as a result of this storm.

NOAA's GOES satellite clearly shows the extent of the monster merging of systems. A hybrid image of NOAA's GOES-13 and GOES-15 satellite created on Oct. 27 by the University of Wisconsin's Space Science and Engineering Center, Madison, provided a full view of the cloud cover from Hurricane Sandy interacting with the long line of clouds associated with the cold front approaching the eastern U.S. The composite image was created using SSEC's McIDAS software and NOAA's GOES imager satellite imagery.

Sandy's Effects from the Nation's Capital to the Big Apple

Washington, D.C. is in the southern end of the bullseye area of Sandy's huge center, and that target area stretches all the way to New York City. That's just the bullseye area, according to the National Hurricane Center. Because Sandy is thousands of miles wide, the storm's powerful effects will be felt all the way to Maine and include strong winds and flooding rainfall. Coastal flooding a very serious concern along the coasts especially in the vicinity of New York City and Raritan Bay, according to the Weather Channel.

Washington, D.C. and New York and all areas in between, including Philadelphia, can expect heavy rain and damaging winds over a couple of days. Because Sandy is coming from the south, the conditions will deteriorate from south to north, with Washington, D.C. feeling the worst effects first.

In the Nation's Capital, a flood watch was already posted along the D.C. and Baltimore corridor west to Frederick County, Md. and south to southern Maryland beginning Sunday night, Oct. 27 and extended through Tuesday, Oct. 30. Rainfall will depend on the speed and track of the storm, but heavy rainfall can flood rivers and streams through the rest of the week. Like the heavy rainfall, damaging winds of tropical-storm-force are expected over the same period. Tropical-storm-force winds range between 37 mph and 73 mph. In addition, coastal flooding is a serious concern because of the easterly winds pushing the ocean waters against the shoreline, and this is coupled with higher than normal tides by the current full moon.

NASA's TRMM Satellite Gets a 3-D Look at Sandy's Power

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite flew above hurricane Sandy on Friday, Oct. 26 at 1509 UTC (11:09 a.m. EDT) and gathered data on rainfall and cloud heights, revealing the power within this monster storm.

Hal Pierce of NASA's TRMM Team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. created rainfall and 3-D imagery of the storm that revealed the rate at which rain was falling throughout the mammoth storm, and the heights of the thunderstorms within, which are a clue to the storm's power. The higher the thunderstorms that make up a tropical cyclone, the stronger the overall storm, and the heavier the rainfall in those areas of highest cloud tops.

TRMM data showed that rainfall was very heavy in some bands north of Sandy's center of circulation and that Sandy's surface center of circulation is exposed south of the main area of convection. The TRMM rainfall analysis was created using data from two instruments on TRMM: TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR).

Pierce created a 3-D view of Sandy, also using TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR) data that showed that the thunderstorms north of Sandy's center of circulation reached heights of a little above 11km (~6.8 mile). Radar reflectivity values of a little over 45.8dBZ were found in these storms indicating that there were moderate to heavy rain showers in that area.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) indicated that there was significant movement of cold air over the southwest side of Sandy's circulation on Friday, as a result of the cold front moving in from the west. This is expected to speed up Sandy's change to a post-tropical low.

Where is Sandy on Saturday, Oct. 27?

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Florida East Coast from Sebastian Inlet to Saint Augustine, South Santee River to Duck including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and Great Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Savannah River to South Santee Rive, the Florida east coast from north of Saint Augustine to Fernandina Beach and Bermuda.

On Sat. Oct. 27, at 8 a.m. EDT, Hurricane Sandy's maximum sustained winds were near 75 mph (120 kph). Sandy is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale, and regained hurricane strength after weakening to a tropical storm earlier in the day. Sandy was centered near latitude 28.8 north and 76.8 west. Sandy is moving north-northeast near 10 mph (17 kph) and is expected to turn northeast then north on Oct. 28, while slowing down. The center of Sandy will continue moving away from the northwestern Bahamas this morning and will move parallel to the southeast coast of the United States through the weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Storm surge is expected to be big factor as Sandy approaches the Mid-Atlantic coast. Very rough surf and high and dangerous waves are expected to be coupled with the full moon. The National Hurricane Center noted that the combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters. The water could reach the following depths above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.

Powerful Winds Have Already Expanded

As happens when any storm becomes extra-tropical, Sandy will go from a warm to cold core center and the strongest winds spread out and the storm will expand. According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane force winds have expanded on Saturday, Oct. 27 and now extend outward up to 100 miles from the center. On Oct. 26, those hurricane-force winds were only 35 miles out from the center. Tropical-storm-force winds have also expanded over a huge area on Sat. Oct. 27 and now extend 450 miles from the center! Just a day before, those tropical storm force winds extended outward up to 275 miles (445 km). The wind field of Sandy will contine to grow in size during the next couple of days. The storm's circulation now reaches more than 2,000 miles.

NASA satellites will continue to provide forecasters at the National Hurricane Center with infrared, visible, cloud height, temperature and rainfall data as Sandy closes in on the U.S. East Coast. Updates on Sandy are available from the National Hurricane Center at: www.nhc.noaa.gov.

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


Oct. 26, 2012, second update - NASA Sees Hurricane Sandy as the "Bride of Frankenstorm" Approaching U.S. East Coast

[image-380][image-396][image-412]NASA's TRMM satellite revealed Hurricane Sandy's heavy rainfall and the storm is expected to couple with a powerful cold front and Arctic air to bring that heavy rainfall to the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S. Some forecasters are calling this combination of weather factors "Frankenstorm" because of the close proximity to Halloween. However, because Sandy is a woman's name, the storm could be considered a "bride of Frankenstorm."

NASA satellites have provided forecasters at the National Hurricane Center with rainfall data, infrared, visible and other data on Sandy and will continue to do so. Dr. Marshall Shepherd who works with TRMM data provided an insight into the storm's development.

NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Sandy Drench Jamaica and Eastern Cuba

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite had a partial view of hurricane Sandy on Oct. 25 at 1425 UTC (10:25 a.m. EDT) after it had passed over Cuba and moved into the Bahamas. An eye was hard to find but TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) data showed that a large area of intense rainfall was occurring around Sandy's center of circulation. Hal Pierce of NASA's TRMM Team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. used a GOES-13 satellite image captured at the same time to fill in the part of the image not viewed by TRMM to create a total picture of the storm.

With its combination of passive microwave and active radar sensors, TRMM is ideally suited to measure rainfall from space. For increased coverage, TRMM can be used to calibrate rainfall estimates from other additional satellites. The TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) made at NASA Goddard can be used to rainfall over a wide portion of the globe. TMPA rainfall totals were tallied for the seven-day period from Oct. 18-25, 2012.The heaviest rainfall occurred over open ocean where totals were as high as 325 millimeters. Rainfall amounts as high as 250 millimeters were measured over eastern Cuba and some extreme southern areas of Hispaniola.

Hurricane Sandy passed over the islands of Jamaica and Cuba causing at least 21 deaths. Extensive flooding and other damage were reported near the capital city of Kingston and other areas of Jamaica.

National Hurricane Center Rainfall Expectations

The heavy rainfall potential is evident in the National Hurricane Center's (NHC) forecast on Oct. 26. The NHC noted that Sandy is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches across Haiti and the Dominican Republic with isolated maximum totals of 20 inches possible. Rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches are expected over portions of the Bahamas with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible. Rainfall totals of one to three inches are expected across the Florida Keys into southeastern and east-central Florida with isolated maximum amounts of six inches possible. Rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches are possible over far eastern North Carolina.

Interview with Research Meteorologist Dr. Marshall Shepherd

Dr. Marshall Shepherd, University of Georgia Professor and Research Meteorologist has worked with TRMM satellite data since its launch in 1997. Dr. Shepherd provided his take on the storm event. "Models are coming into consensus on a landfall, if you will, in the DelMarVa area. Comparisons are being made to the Perfect Storm of 1991, but many folks won't remember that. Storm will bring very strong winds (hurricane force) over a strong area. Remember the Derecho of June 29, 2012. Expand that to the entire Delaware/Maryland/Virginia and New York/New Jersey region."

Shepherd said that the event will bring significant rains and inland freshwater flooding , that he said was often the deadliest threat from tropical systems. He also cited concerns about the storm surge and coastal flooding as full moon will mean elevated water levels/tides coupled with the storm-induced surge. Finally, he noted, there is likely to be heavy wet snow into the inland and higher elevations of the effected region. "Pay attention to the cone or area of influence rather than a specific track as the storm will affect an area not a point," he said.

"Advances from NASA satellites, aircraft, and models are essential for ingest into the models, assessing storm locations and intensity, and testing future modeling techniques. It may not be obvious to many, but our warning and prediction capability does have traceability to the NASA program in numerous ways and I have been happy to play some small role as a former NASA scientist and current member of the NASA Precipitation Science Team and Earth Science Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council."



An animation of satellite observations from Oct. 24-26, 2012, shows Hurricane Sandy crossing eastern Cuba and moving through and exiting the Bahamas. This visualization was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., using observations from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite. Credit NASA/NOAA GOES Project

Where is Sandy on Friday, Oct. 26?

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Northwestern Bahamas Except Andros Island. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Central Bahamas, Florida East Coast from Ocean Reef to Flagler Beach, Lake Okeechobee and Andros Island in the northwestern Bahamas. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Savannah River to Oregon Inlet North Carolina, Pamlico Sound, the Florida east coast from North of Flagler Beach to Fernandina Beach, the Florida Upper Keys from Ocean Reef to Craig Key, and Florida Bay.

On Friday, Oct. 26, at 8 a.m. EDT, Hurricane Sandy's maximum sustained winds were near 80- mph (130 kph). Sandy is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale. Some weakening is possible during the next day or so, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was centered near latitude 26.4 north and longitude 76.9 west. Sandy is moving northwest near 10 mph (17 kph) and is expected to turn north and then northeast on Oct. 27, while slowing down.

Storm surge is expected to be big factor as Sandy approaches the Mid-Atlantic coast. Very rough surf and high and dangerous waves are expected to be coupled with the full moon. The National Hurricane Center noted that the combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters. The water could reach the following depths above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide. Some storm surge forecasts include: 5 to 8 feet in the hurricane warning area in the Bahamas and one to three feet along the Florida coast in the warning areas on Oct. 26.

GOES-13 Satellite Shows Sandy and Powerful Cold Front

NOAA's GOES-13 satellite monitors weather over the eastern U.S. and the Atlantic Ocean. In a visible image taken from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on Friday, Oct. 26 at 1415 UTC (10:15 a.m. EDT) Hurricane Sandy's huge cloud extent of up to 2,000 miles extended into the Atlantic, while its center was over the Bahamas. At the same time a long line of clouds associated with a powerful cold front approaching the U.S. east coast stretched from the upper Midwest to the Gulf coast. The image was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA Goddard.

"Bride of Frankenstorm"

Hurricane Sandy is expected to mix with a powerful cold front approaching the east coast, and cold Arctic Air mass, setting up for a powerful storm, a "Bride of Frankenstorm."

The cold front stretching from the upper Midwest to the Gulf coast is moving eastward and is expected to temporarily push Sandy away from the coast. However, the front is expected to break down as it moves toward the coast, allowing Hurricane Sandy to come back toward the coast.

As happens when any storm becomes extra-tropical, Sandy will go from a warm to cold core center and the strongest winds spread out and the storm will expand. According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 275 miles (445 km). The wind field of Sandy is expected to grow in size during the next couple of days. The storm's circulation almost reaches 2,000 miles.

Although landfall is expected in southeastern Delaware early Tuesday morning as a hurricane, the Mid-Atlantic is expected to start feeling the storm's effect starting Sunday, Oct. 28.

For updates on Hurricane Sandy's forecast, go to the National Hurricane Center: www.nhc.noaa.gov

For the GOES-R and JPSS National Centers Perspective Blog: http://goesrnatcentperspective.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/what-to-do-with-sandy-pt-ii/

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


Oct. 26, 2012, first update - Suomi NPP Satellite Captures Detailed Imagery of Hurricane Sandy Intensification



On Oct. 25, 2012, NPP passed over Sandy, showing areas of deep convection around the central eye.
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Early in the morning on October 25, 2012, the Suomi NPP satellite passed over Hurricane Sandy after it made landfall over Cuba and Jamaica, capturing this highly detailed infrared imagery, showing areas of deep convection around the central eye. Besides the highly detailed infrared imagery, the satellite's day night band captured detailed visible-like imagery of the cloud tops, along with the city lights of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

As most polar-orbiting satellites fly over an area, the visible and infrared sensors scan left to right. Data in the center part of the scan typically has the highest resolution and quality; farther out in the scan, the imagery gets distorted. An improvement in the Suomi NPP's VIIRS sensor over its predecessors reduces the loss of data quality along the length of the scan. Hurricane Sandy is a perfect example of the importance of this improvement – both times the satellite passed over Sandy on October 25th in consecutive orbits, the storm was on the edge of the scan area, which would have meant decreased image quality from previous satellites, but not Suomi NPP. Only at the very limits of the imagery (left hand side) can the edge of scan issues be seen in the day-night band image. These distortions would be much more pronounced in similar imagery from AVHRR or MODIS.

Photo Credit: NOAA/NASA


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


Oct. 25, 2012, second update - NASA's Terra Satellite Shows Larger Hurricane Sandy Over Bahamas

When NASA's Terra satellite flew over Hurricane Sandy around noon local time on Oct. 25, it captured a visible image of Hurricane Sandy that showed the large extent of the storm. Sandy has grown since the morning hours on Oct. 25 by about 120 miles in diameter according to satellite data.

satellite image of Sandy

NASA's MODIS instrument aboard the Terra satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Sandy over the Bahamas on Oct. 25 at 1530 UTC (11:30 a.m. EDT). Sandy stretched from south Florida to the Bahamas, eastern Cuba, Hispaniola and western Puerto Rico. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team)
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NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard the Terra satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Sandy over the Bahamas on Oct. 25 at 1530 UTC (11:30 a.m. EDT). The MODIS image revealed strong thunderstorms in its southern arm, positioned over the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and eastern Puerto Rico. The center of the storm was moving through the Bahamas, and the northwestern edge had already spread clouds over southern Florida.

At 2 p.m. EDT on Oct. 25, Sandy's maximum sustained winds remain near 105 mph (165 kph). The storm is a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. Sandy's center was located near 23 degrees 30 minutes north latitude and 75 degrees 24 minutes west longitude, just 25 miles (40 km) east of Great Exuma Island, Bahamas. Sandy is moving toward the north near 20 mph (32 kph) and this motion is expected to continue followed by a turn toward the north-northwest. Sandy is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves through the Bahamas.
 

This video shows Hurricane Sandy as seen from the International Space Station

At 11 a.m. EDT, tropical-storm-force winds extended up to 140 miles (220 km) from the center, making Sandy more than 280 miles in diameter. By 2 p.m. EDT, just more than three hours later, Sandy had grown. Sandy's tropical storm-force-winds now extend outward up to 205 miles (335 km) from the center, making the storm about 410 miles in diameter.

High pressure rotating clockwise over New England may be set up to push Sandy toward the mid-Atlantic as a cold front approaches from the west. Various computer models are showing different scenarios for Oct. 29's weather along the U.S. East Coast. The current forecast track from the National Hurricane Center brings Sandy in for a landfall in central New Jersey on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Regardless, it appears that Sandy may be a strong wind event for the U.S. mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

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


Oct. 25, 2012, first update - GOES-13 Sees Hurricane Sandy Move over Jamaica




An animation of NOAA's GOES-13 satellite observations from Oct. 23-25, 2012, show Hurricane Sandy move over Jamaica and cross over eastern Cuba. At 8 a.m. EDT on Oct. 25, 2012, Hurricane Sandy had maximum sustained winds near 105 mph and was just 75 miles northeast of Holguin, Cuba.This visualization was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., using observations from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

NASA Sees Power in Hurricane Sandy Moving Toward Bahamas [image-540]

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Hurricane Sandy as it was moving over eastern Cuba early on Oct. 25. The AIRS instrument captured an infrared image of Sandy that showed a large area of very high, cold cloud tops indicating the power within the storm. Sandy is now headed toward the Bahamas and warnings and watches have already been posted for the mainland U.S.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared imagery of Hurricane Sandy's eastern half on Oct. 25 at 0559 UTC (1:59 a.m. EDT) that showed some strong thunderstorms around the eye of Sandy. Those thunderstorms are reaching high into the troposphere where cloud top temperatures are as cold as -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius). In previous studies, those areas where the temperatures were that cold indicated heavy rainfall.

By 11 a.m. EDT on Oct. 25, the eye was no longer apparent in satellite imagery or from aircraft observations. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center noted that Sandy "has become somewhat disrupted on the western side by southwesterly flow from an upper-level low to the west."

Current Watches and Warnings

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Ragged Islands in the southeastern Bahamas, the Central Bahamas, the Northwestern Bahamas. A Tropical Storm Warning is in the effect for the Florida east coast from Ocean Reef to Flagler Beach, Lake Okeechobee, and the remainder of the southeastern Bahamas.

In addition, a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Florida east coast from North of Flagler Beach to Fernandina Beach, Florida Upper Keys from Ocean Reef to Craig Key and Florida Bay.

Discontinued Watches and Warnings

As of 11 a.m. EDT several watches and warnings have been dropped as Sandy continues moving north. Cuba has discontinued the hurricane warning for the provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, and Guantanamo. The tropical storm warning for Haiti has also been discontinued although heavy rains and gusty winds are expected to continue there today, Oct. 25.

Where is Sandy Now?

According to the National Hurricane Center, at 11 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 25, Hurricane Sandy's maximum sustained winds were near 105 mph (165 kph) with higher gusts. Sandy is a category two hurricane on the saffir- Simpson hurricane wind scale. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the center, while tropical-storm-force winds go up to 140 miles (220 km) from the center, making Sandy move than 280 miles in diameter. As a storm weakens, it tends to grow larger, so forecasters are closely watching Sandy.

Sandy is located near latitude 22.4 north and longitude 75.5 west. That's about 65 miles (110 km) south-southwest of Long Island, Bahamas and about 85 miles (135 km) south-southeast of Great Exuma Island. Sandy is moving toward the north near 16 mph (26 kph) and is expected to continue in that direction today, and turn north-northwest and slow down. The center of Sandy will move through the Central Bahamas later on Oct. 25 and through the northwestern Bahamas on Friday, Oct. 26. Sandy is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves through the Bahamas.

In Florida, local hurricane statements have been issued for Miami, Jacksonville, Melbourne and Key West. For more information about rainfall, winds and storm surge, visit the National Hurricane Center website at www.nhc.noaa.gov.

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


Oct. 24, 2012 - NASA Sees Tropical Storm Sandy Approaching Jamaica



This animation of NOAA's GOES-13 satellite observations from Oct. 21-24, 2012, shows Tropical Storm Sandy become a hurricane just before making landfall in Jamaica and Tropical Storm Tony form and strengthen in the central Atlantic Ocean. Sandy became a hurricane on Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. EDT when its maximum sustained winds hit 80 mph (130 kph). At that time, it was centered about 65 miles (100 km) south of Kingston, Jamaica, near 17.1 North and 76.7 West. This visualization was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. (Credit: NASA GOES Project)
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[image-428][image-444]NASA satellites are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Sandy in visible and infrared light as it approaches Jamaica. Sandy is now responsible for hurricane and tropical storm warnings and watches from Jamaica to Cuba, the Bahamas and southern Florida. Sandy is expected to become a hurricane before it reaches Jamaica and Cuba.

On Oct. 23, 2012 at 1545 UTC (11:45 a.m. EDT), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Sandy when its center was a couple of hundred miles south of Jamaica. Sandy's clouds filled up the eastern Caribbean Sea, and showed signs of good circulation. The MODIS image revealed that Sandy's cloud cover extends over 280 miles (440 km). Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km) from the center.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared imagery of Tropical Storm Sandy later that day at 2:47 p.m. EDT. The infrared image showed the strongest thunderstorms surrounded the center of circulation. Those thunderstorms are reaching high into the troposphere where cloud top temperatures are as cold as -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius).

On Oct. 24, the warnings and watches posted covered a large area. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Jamaica, the Cuban Provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Granma, Santiago De Cuba, Holguin, and Guantanamo. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Haiti, the Central Bahamas, and the Northwestern Bahamas.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Southeastern Bahamas, the Florida East Coast from Jupiter Inlet to Ocean Reef, the Florida Upper Keys from Ocean Reef to Craig Key, and Florida Bay.

At 8 a.m. EDT on Oct. 24, Tropical Storm Sandy's maximum sustained winds were on the edge of hurricane-force at 70 mph (110 kph). Hurricane strength is 74 mph. Sandy's center was located near latitude 16.6 north and longitude 76.9 west, just 95 miles (155 km) south of Kingston, Jamaica. Sandy is moving toward the north near 14 mph (22 kph) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that this general motion is expected to continue through Thursday (Oct. 25) accompanied by a gradual increase in forward speed.

According to NHC forecasters, the center of Sandy is expected to move across Jamaica by late this afternoon and evening today, Oct. 24 and move near or over eastern Cuba late tonight and Thursday morning. Oct. 25. Sandy is then expected to approach the central Bahamas on Thursday.

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


Oct. 23, 2012 - NASA's Hot Tower Research Confirmed Again with Tropical Storm Sandy

[image-460][image-476][image-492]The eighteenth tropical depression only took six hours to strengthen into Tropical Storm Sandy, confirming NASA research that sighting of hot towers leads to intensification. Sandy may further intensify into a hurricane and watches and warnings have been posted in the Caribbean Sea. On Oct. 23, a Hurricane Watch and Tropical Storm Warning were in effect for Jamaica, and a tropical storm watch was in effect for Haiti.

A low pressure center in the southwestern Caribbean sea was upgraded to Tropical Depression 18 by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) yesterday, Oct. 22 at 1500 UTC (11:00 a.m. EDT). The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, otherwise known as TRMM passed directly above the newly formed tropical depression on October 22, 2012 at 1533 UTC (October 21, 2012 at 11:33 p.m. EDT). TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) data were used to determine the rainfall rates occurring within the depression and the newly formed tropical depression was already showing good organization. Some intense convective storms near the center of circulation dropping rain at a rate of about 50 mm (~2 inches) per hour.

NASA's 3-D Look at Tropical Storm Sandy

A 3-D perspective was made at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. using data from TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR) from the orbit. Powerful storms called "hot towers" located near the center of TD18's circulation were reaching altitudes of over 14 km (~8.7 miles). Towering thunderstorms like these at the center of tropical cyclones are often a sign of intensification.

A "hot tower" is a rain cloud that reaches at least to the top of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere. The troposphere peaks around nine miles (14.5 km) high in the tropics. The towering clouds are called "hot" because they rise to such altitude due to the large amount of latent heat. Water vapor releases this latent heat as it condenses into liquid. NASA scientists Owen Kelley and John Stout of George Mason University and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., found that a tropical cyclone with a hot tower around its center of circulation was twice as likely to intensify within the next six hours, than a cyclone that lacked a tower. That's exactly what happened on Oct. 22, when TRMM spotted hot towers in Tropical Depression 18. It became Tropical Storm Sandy just six hours later.

Sandy's Stats on Oct. 23

On Oct. 23 at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC), Tropical Storm Sandy's maximum sustained winds were near 45 mph (75 kph) and the National Hurricane Center expects the storm to strengthen over the next two days. The center of Tropical Storm Sandy was located near latitude 13.4 north and longitude 77.9 west, about 325 miles (525 km) south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica. Sandy was moving to the north-northeast near 3 mph (6 kph) and is expected to continue in that direction for the next two days taking the center of the tropical storm near or over Jamaica on Wed. Oct. 24. Sandy's estimated minimum central pressure is 997 millibars.

NASA Infrared Data on Sandy

Infrared satellite imagery captured on Oct. 23 at 0617 UTC (2:17 a.m. EDT) from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite showed that there are bands of strong thunderstorms east of Sandy's center of circulation . Those bands of thunderstorms are reaching high into the troposphere where cloud top temperatures are as cold as -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius).

Sandy's Wind, Rain, Storm Surge

Tropical storm winds are expected to reach Jamaica during the night-time hours of Oct. 23 or early morning hours on Wed. Oct. 24. The National Hurricane Center noted that "hurricane conditions expected on Wed. Hurricane conditions are also possible in eastern Cuba by Wed. night. Tropical storm conditions are possible in Haiti on Oct. 24, and in central and southeastern Bahamas on Thurs. Oct. 24.

Sandy is expected to be a big rainmaker, generating between six and 12 inches across Jamaica, Haiti , the Domenican Republic and eastern Cuba. Isolated rainfall totals could reach 20 inches. In addition, storm surges are expect to raise water levels between one and three feet above normal tide levels.

The National Hurricane Center expects Sandy to strengthen into a hurricane over the next couple of days.

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


Oct. 22, 2012- NASA Sees 18th Atlantic Depression Form

[image-508][image-524]Tropical Depression 18 (TD18) formed over the southwestern Caribbean Sea at 11 a.m. EDT on Oct. 22, and NASA's TRMM satellite saw a "hot towering" thunderstorm near its center of circulation hinting that it could become a tropical storm soon. A tropical storm watch has been issued for Jamaica.

When NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite flew over the developing TD18 early on Oct. 22 at 0040 UTC (Oct. 21 at 8:40 p.m. EDT), the satellite measured rainfall rates within the low pressure area and measured cloud heights of the thunderstorms that make up the low.

TRMM noticed that the developing depression had a "hot towering" thunderstorm over 9.3 miles (15 kilometers) high. That same area also revealed heavy rainfall where rain was falling at 2 inches/50 mm per hour. Hot Towers are towering clouds that emit a tremendous amount of latent heat (that's why they're called "hot" towers). NASA research indicates that whenever a hot tower is spotted, a tropical cyclone will likely intensify within 6 or more hours, and the low pressure system intensified into a tropical depression.

Satellite data also showed that the depression also has a closed surface circulation and the banding of thunderstorms around the center has increased during the early morning hours on Oct. 22. These are all signs that the depression is getting more organized.

At 11 a.m. EDT, TD18 had maximum sustained winds near 30 mph (45 kph). It was located near 13.5 North latitude and 78.0 West longitude, about 320 miles (515 km) south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica. TD18 was moving to the southwest at 5 mph 7 kph) and had a minimum central pressure of 1003 millibars.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that a tropical storm warning could be needed later in the day on Monday, Oct. 22 for Jamaica. Also, interests in eastern Cuba, Hispaniola, and the Bahamas should monitor the progress of this system. According to NHC, the depression is expected to drift westward and the turn to the north-northeast on Oct. 23 and 24. The forecast track takes TD18's center near Jamaica during the night-time hours on Oct. 23.

Tropical Depression 18 was born from the low pressure area formerly known as System 99L. The NHC expects TD18 to strengthen and become a tropical storm later on Oct. 22 or on Oct. 23. Once the depression becomes a tropical storm it would be renamed "Tropical Storm Sandy."

In addition to the new tropical depression, there's another area that forecasters are watching in the Atlantic. System 90L is producing showers and thunderstorms in the central Atlantic about 700 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands. During the morning hours of Oct. 22, the showers had become a little better organized, and the NHC gives the low a 50 percent chance of becoming the nineteenth tropical depression of the Atlantic hurricane season.

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

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Aerial photograph of Wallops Island
Aerial photographs of the NASA Wallops facility and coastline. On the left is from August 2012 after completion of a Shoreline Protection Project. On the right is from November 2012 after Hurricane Sandy swept by.
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NASA
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Scatterometer reading of Sandy
The map of Sandy's winds produced with data from a radar scatterometer on the Indian Space Research Organization's Oceansat-2, shows the strength and direction of Sandy's ocean surface winds on October 28, 2012. Wind speeds above 40 milesper hour are yellow; above 50 are orange and above 60 are red.
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Indian Space Research Organization OceanSat-2 missions.
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Quickscat readings on Sandy
The map of Hurricane Katrina's winds was made from similar data acquired on August 28, 2005, by a radar scatterometer on NASA's retired QuickSCAT satellite. Wind speeds above 40 milesper hour are yellow; above 50 are orange and above 60 are red.
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NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's QuikSCAT
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Jersey Shore before Sandy
Photo of the New Jersey coastal town of Mantoloking taken on March 18, 2007.
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Aerial photography courtesy of the NOAA Remote Sensing Div.
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Jersey Shore after Sandy
Photo of the New Jersey coastal town of Mantoloking, just north of where Hurricane Sandy made landfall, taken on October 31, 2012 shows the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy.
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Aerial photography courtesy of the NOAA Remote Sensing Div.
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GOES image of Sandy
This visible image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite shows the remnant clouds from Sandy still linger over the Great Lakes, east to New England and north into Canada at 1:31 p.m. EDT on Nov. 1, 2012.
Image Credit: 
NASA GOES Project
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TRMM image of Sandy
TRMM rainfall analysis indicates that the heaviest rainfalls of greater than 10.2 inches were over the Atlantic Ocean. Rainfall totals of over ~ 7 inches are also shown over land in many areas near the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to South Carolina. Sandy's track is overlayed in white.
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SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
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AIRS image of Sandy
The AIRS instrument aboard Aqua captured two infrared images of Sandy on Oct. 30 at 2:11 a.m. stitched together that showed the storm's clouds (blue and purple) over the Ohio Valley and upper Midwest, stretching into Canada. The strongest storms appear in blue and purple.
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NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
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Flooding from Hurricane Sandy occurring on Oct. 29, 2012 near the Wachapreague Marina , Wachapreague Va.
Flooding from Hurricane Sandy occurring on Oct. 29, 2012 near the Wachapreague Marina , Wachapreague Va.
Image Credit: 
Betty Flowers
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TRMM image of Sandy
On Oct. 27 at 3:07 p.m. EDT, NASA's TRMM satellite saw that rain associated with Hurricane Sandy storm's center, was moderate (in green and blue) and falling at a rate of 20 to 40 mm/ hour. The heaviest rainfall at the time of this image was falling west of the center at more than 2"/hr. (red).
Image Credit: 
SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
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GOES image of Sandy
This GOES-13 satellite image was captured on Oct. 31 at 1240 UTC as Sandy's circulation was winding down over Pennsylvania. Sandy had been downgraded a remnant low pressure area.
Image Credit: 
NASA GOES Project
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AIRS image of Sandy
AIRS captured infrared imagery of Hurricane Sandy on Monday, Oct. 29 at 3:11 a.m. EDT that showed some strong thunderstorms (purple) and the extent of Sandy's reach (blue) from the Carolinas into the Ohio Valley and eastern Canada.
Image Credit: 
NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
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GOES image of Sandy
NOAA's GOES-13 satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Sandy battering the U.S. East coast on Monday, Oct. 29 at 9:10 a.m. EDT. Sandy's center was about 310 miles south-southeast of New York City. Tropical Storm force winds are about 1,000 miles in diameter.
Image Credit: 
NASA GOES Project
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TRMM image of Sandy
This 3-D view of Hurricane Sandy was created from NASA's TRMM satellite on the Oct. 26, also using TRMM Precipitation Radar data that showed that the thunderstorms north of Sandy's center of circulation reached heights of a little above ~6.8 mile. Radar reflectivity indicated moderate to heavy rain.
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NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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MODIS image of Sandy
This visible image of Hurricane Sandy shows the massive extent of its clouds, covering about 2000 miles. The image was taken by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite on Oct. 26 at 2:10 p.m. EDT. Sandy's center was in the Bahamas at that time, and its western clouds were brushing the SE U.S.
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NASA/Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team
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GOES image of Sandy
NOAA's GOES-13 satellite captured this visible image of the massive Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 28 at 9:02 a.m. EDT. The line of clouds from the Gulf of Mexico north are associated with the cold front that Sandy is merging with. Sandy's western cloud edge is already over the mid-Atlantic and NE U.S.
Image Credit: 
NASA GOES Project
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TRMM image of Sandy
On Oct. 27 at 3:07 p.m. EDT, NASA's TRMM satellite saw that rain associated with Hurricane Sandy storm's center, was moderate (in green and blue) and falling at a rate of 20 to 40 mm per hour. The heaviest rainfall at the time of this image was falling west of the center at more than 2"/hr.
Image Credit: 
SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
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TRMM image of Sandy
This 3-D view of Hurricane Sandy was created from NASA's TRMM satellite on the Oct. 26, also using TRMM Precipitation Radar data that showed that the thunderstorms north of Sandy's center of circulation reached heights of a little above ~6.8 mile. Radar reflectivity indicated moderate to heavy rain.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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This image was created combining NOAA's GOES-13 and GOES-15 satellite imagery on Oct. 27 and shows the cloud cover from Hurricane Sandy interacting with the long line of clouds associated with the cold front approaching the eastern U.S.
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NOAA/UWI/SSEC
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TRMM rainfall totals
TRMM rainfall totals were tallied for the 7day period from Oct. 18-25, 2012. The heaviest rainfall occurred over open ocean where totals were as high as 325 millimeters. Rainfall amounts as high as 250 millimeters were measured over eastern Cuba and some extreme southern areas of Hispaniola.
Image Credit: 
SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
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GOES image of Sandy
This visible image was taken from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on Friday, Oct. 26 at 1415 UTC (10:15 a.m. EDT) and shows Hurricane Sandy's huge cloud extent of up to 2,000 miles while centered over the Bahamas, and the line of clouds associated with a powerful cold front approaching the U.S. east coast.
Image Credit: 
NASA GOES Project
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TRMM image of Sandy
On Oct. 25 at 10:25 a.m. EDT, NASA's TRMM satellite saw that rain associated with Hurricane Sandy storm's center, was moderate (in green and blue) and falling at a rate of 20 to 40 mm/hr. The heaviest rainfall at the time of this image was falling over the Dominican Republic at more than 2"/hr (red)
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SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
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AIRS image of Sandy
AIRS captured infrared imagery of Tropical Storm Sandy on Oct. 23 at 2:47 p.m. EDT that showed the strongest thunderstorms (purple) surrounded the center of circulation. Those thunderstorms are reaching high into the troposphere where cloud top temperatures are as cold as -63 Fahrenheit
Image Credit: 
NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
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MODIS image of Sandy
On Oct. 23, 2012 at 11:45 a.m. EDT , the MODIS instrument captured a visible image of Sandy when its center was a couple of hundred miles south of Jamaica. Sandy's clouds filled up the eastern Caribbean Sea, and showed signs of good circulation. MODIS revealed Sandy's cloud cover extends 280 miles.
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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TRMM image of Sandy
This flyby video was created from data when NASA's TRMM satellite flew over the developing tropical depression 18 on Oct. 21 at 8:40 p.m. EDT. This 3-D perspective showed powerful storms near the center were reaching altitudes of over ~8.7 miles. Red areas indicate heavy rainfall of 50 mm/2"/hr.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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TRMM image of Sandy
NASA's TRMM satellite flew over the developing tropical depression 18 on Oct. 21 at 8:40 p.m. EDT. This 3-D perspective showed powerful storms near the center were reaching altitudes of over 14 km (~8.7 miles). Red areas indicate heavy rainfall of 50 mm/2 inches per hour.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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AIRS image of Sandy
Infrared satellite imagery on Oct. 23 at 2:17 a.m. EDT, from the AIRS showed bands of strong thunderstorms are east of the center of Sandy's circulation. Those bands of thunderstorms are reaching high into the troposphere where cloud top temperatures are as cold (purple) as -63F.
Image Credit: 
NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
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GOES image of Tropical Depression 18
This visible image of Tropical Depression 18 was taken from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on Oct. 22 at 1145 UTC (7:45 a.m. EDT) just before it was classified as a depression.
Image Credit: 
NASA GOES Project
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TRMM image of Tropical Depression 18
NASA's TRMM satellite flew over the developing tropical depression 18 on Oct. 21 at 8:40 p.m. EDT and noticed a hot towering thunderstorm over 9.3 miles (15 kilometers) high and an area of heavy rainfall (red).
Image Credit: 
NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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AIRS image of Sandy
The AIRS instrument captured infrared imagery of Hurricane Sandy's eastern half on Oct. 25 at 1:59 a.m. EDT that showed some strong thunderstorms (purple) around the eye of Sandy. The yellow areas indicate the edges of the clouds associated with Sandy. Cloud cover extends far to the west.
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NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
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CloudSat passed over Sandy on Oct. 27, 2012. Light to moderate precipitation associated with parts of the outer bands of Hurricane Sandy were moving on shore into parts of North Carolina where CloudSat intersected the system. Cloudsat showed heavier showers and thunderstorms south and east.
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NASA/JPL/CIRA Colorado State University
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This GOES-13 satellite image was captured on Oct. 31 at 1240 UTC as Sandy's circulation was winding down over Pennsylvania. Sandy had been downgraded a remnant low pressure area.
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NASA GOES Project
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This 3-D simulated Flyby was created using Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Precipitation Radar data from 1:25 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. This TRMM orbit shows that rainfall from Sandy was hitting the coastlines of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, but it had not yet made landfall.
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SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
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NOAA's GOES satellites captured a global view of Hurricane Sandy's birth to landfall. This animation of NOAA's GOES-13 and GOES-15 satellite observations from Oct. 21-30, 2012.
Image Credit: 
NASA GOES Project
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