Panorama of tropical activity

NASA Sees 3 Tropical Cyclones in the Atlantic Today, plus Lee remnants

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

GOES image of four Atlantic Storms on Sept. 8, 2011 NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite took a stunning image of 4 tropical systems in the Atlantic today, Sept. 8, 2011. Hurricane Katia in the western Atlantic between Bermuda and the U.S. East coast; Tropical Storm Lee’s remnants affecting the northeastern U.S.; Tropical Storm Maria in the central Atlantic; and newborn Tropical Storm Nate in the Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)
› Larger image
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NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite monitors the Atlantic and eastern U.S. and took a stunning image of Hurricane Katia in the western Atlantic between Bermuda and the U.S. East coast; Tropical Storm Lee’s remnants affecting the northeastern U.S.; Tropical Storm Maria in the central Atlantic; and newborn Tropical Storm Nate in the Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico. The visible image was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Hurricane Katia

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

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

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

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

Lee’s Remnants

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

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

Tropical Storm Maria

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

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

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

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

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

Tropical Storm Nate

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

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

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

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

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

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20 thoughts on “Panorama of tropical activity

  1. Plaguing?
    How about relieving the ocean of heat?
    For those on ships in the midst of such storms there are likely stronger words than plague being used.

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong please?…

    Cyclone/Hurricanes primary energy source is the difference between Air Temperature over the Sea Surface and Sea Surface Temperature?

  3. Bastardi has his eye on a tropical wave following Maria, at the bottom right hand corner.

    Gosh! You’d think we were at the heart of the hurricane season!

  4. Speaking as from the UK (about 51°N 1°W), where all the Atlantic depressions generally finish up as equinoctial gales, you are very welcome to them back on your own side of the pond!

  5. Nick says: September 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong please?…

    Cyclone/Hurricanes primary energy source is the difference between Air Temperature over the Sea Surface and Sea Surface Temperature?

    Nick, I’m no weather expert, but for a heat engine like a cyclone, the important thing is the difference in heat between a hot source and the cold sink. The air is really part of the heat flow (think of it like a refrigerant in the freezer) The key is how much heat can be delivered at sea level and how much can be emitted by IR at cloud level.

    Two factors affect the rate at which air rises:
    1. Humid air is lighter and so tends to rise.
    2. Warm air rises (bigger effect)

  6. After watching a science program on the fluid nature of the earth’s magnetic field which protects us from incoming radiation, is it possible that this can have an effect on climate?

  7. We moved to Florida in ’59. This is certainly nothing new, other than we did not have the great pictures from space in those days. Now they can scare that beJesus out of the populous and claim “it is Unprecedented”!

    I can now watch the official anemometers on the net in real time! Neat! I still wonder why NOAA’s figures do not match their own anemometers. Is this like adding 3mm a year to the measured ocean levels to make it “look right”? Or is this like subtracting temps from the 30s while adding to temps in the present to make the graph “look right”?

    How can one trust any government generated or paid for data in this age?

  8. Anyone notice any clouds in the above view? Tley looked white (reflective) to me looking ‘down from above’ perspective, much like the perspective from the sun’s rays.

    From the ‘bottom looking up’ there will be a massive cooling of the oceans through evaporation with the heat being dumped into the ‘outer space’ via radiation. If this were a rabbit, it would be a big one! It would be hard to miss.

  9. I remember back in 98 I think when the cyclones were just pouring off the African coast and at one time there were 4 in the Atlantic (one headed for the northern maritimes). 3 of them were lined up in the mid atlantic (I remember one was named karen, but she got absorbed by one of the other 2). That was a pretty awesome sight as well!

  10. I notice, from the image, that Greenland is completely white-where’s all the greenery from coconut trees and other tropical shrubbery-surely the leading climate scientists should look into this.

  11. I really love those satellite pictures.
    More people should watch them because most of the times they reveal more than a thousand words.

  12. I’m sorry but that image is misleading. I saw the one Al Gore used a few years ago and the storms then were much bigger, so they must be absolutely HUGE today because he said they would be. And I believe him.
    Sincerely
    A.Toady, Esq.

  13. Priceless quote from the latest update on Katia :

    No 96-hour forecast point has been provided due to computational
    issues when systems move east of zero degrees longitude.
    Forecast positions and Max winds

    init 09/1500z 39.3n 65.8w 75 kt 85 mph
    12h 10/0000z 41.1n 60.4w 70 kt 80 mph
    24h 10/1200z 44.1n 49.9w 65 kt 75 mph…Post-trop/extratrop
    36h 11/0000z 47.8n 37.8w 60 kt 70 mph…Post-trop/extratrop
    48h 11/1200z 51.5n 26.5w 60 kt 70 mph…Post-trop/extratrop
    72h 12/1200z 58.5n 7.5w 55 kt 65 mph…Post-trop/extratrop
    96h 13/1200z…east of zero degrees longitude

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Multi-million dollar computer models can’t cope with storms crossing the Greenwich Meridian? Are you kidding me!

    WUWT?

  14. Meanwhile, in Japan. Typhoon Talas has left 54 dead and 55 missing. Landslides have cut communications, power and water. Several mountain rivers have been dammed by landslides, and dam collapse is a serious potential hazard for workers and downstream communities.

    Typhoon Talas essentially stalled over part of southern Honshu, and it was rain rather than wind which caused the problem(s).

  15. Some interesting prose over at the NHC site this morning.

    On the one hand, Maria’s Discussion #15 seems to have the forecaster rooting for the “I think I can” storm:

    I AM NOT READY TO WRITE THIS ONE OFF YET AND MARIA IS KEPT AS A 40-KNOT TROPICAL STORM IN THIS ADVISORY. GIVEN THE CURRENT UNCERTAINTY IN THE STATUS OF MARIA…I PROPOSE NOT TO CHANGE ANY OF THE TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS AT THIS TIME.

    On the other hand, Nate’s Discussion #11 has a bit of a mea culpa:

    AS MENTIONED IN THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY…THE WEAKENING OR LACK OF STRENGTHENING OF NATE DURING THE PAST 24 HOURS…DESPITE A VERY FAVORABLE ENVIRONMENT…WAS NOT WELL FORECAST BY THE NHC OR THE MODELS. THIS COULD BE THE RESULT OF COOL WATER UPWELLING DUE TO THE VERY SLOW MOTION OF THIS TROPICAL CYCLONE. NOW THAT NATE APPEARS TO BE MOVING AND REMAINS IN A FAVORABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR STRENGTHENING…SOME INTENSIFICATION APPEARS LIKELY.

    Alas, both storms look even weaker in the 11:00 EDT updates (discussions 16 & 12 respecively).

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