Major Hurricane Gonzalo Gives an "Eye-opening" Performance

NASA and NOAA satellites have been providing continuous coverage of Hurricane Gonzalo as it moves toward Bermuda. NASA’s Terra satellite saw thunderstorms wrapped tightly around the center with large bands of thunderstorms wrapping into it. NOAA’s GOES-East satellite provided [an] “eye-opening” view of Gonzalo, still a Category 4 hurricane on Oct. 16.

gonzalo-goes-thursday[1]A hurricane warning is in effect for Bermuda and that means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area, meaning the entire island.

On Oct. 15 at 15:30 UTC (11:30 a.m. EDT) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured a visible picture of Hurricane Gonzalo in the Atlantic Ocean. The image revealed a cloud-covered center with strong thunderstorms surrounding the eye as bands of strong thunderstorms in the southern, eastern and northern quadrants spiraled into the center.

NOAA’s GOES-East satellite captured an image of Hurricane Gonzalo off the U.S. East Coast on Oct. 16 at 13:07 UTC (9:07 a.m. EDT) and showed that Gonzalo’s eye had become cloud-free. The image also showed a line of clouds associated with a cold front stretching over 1,600 miles that just moved off the U.S. East coast and headed toward Gonzalo.

On Thursday, Oct. 16 at 8 a.m. EDT, Hurricane Gonzalo was still a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 140 mph (220 kph).  Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km).

Fluctuations in intensity are common in major hurricanes. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) cautioned that “Slow weakening is forecast but Gonzalo is expected to be a dangerous hurricane when it moves near Bermuda.”

Gonzalo’s eye was located by a NOAA Hurricane Hunter near latitude 25.5 north and longitude 68.7 west.  That puts the eye of Gonzalo about 525 miles (845 km) south-southwest of Bermuda. The minimum central pressure measured by the NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 940 millibars.

Gonzalo is moving toward the north near 9 mph (15 kph) and this general motion is expected to continue today. The NHC forecast calls for a turn toward the north-northeast and an increase in forward speed tonight (Oct. 16) and Friday (Oct. 17).  On the forecast track, the center of Gonzalo is expected to pass near Bermuda on Friday.

The NHC expects hurricane-force winds, and rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches in Bermuda. A storm surge with coastal flooding can be expected in Bermuda, with large and destructive waves along the coast.  In addition, life-threatening surf and riptide conditions are likely in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Bahamas. Those dangerous conditions are expected along the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda later today, Oct. 16.

The NHC forecast calls for Gonzalo to remain a major hurricane on its approach to landfall in Bermuda. For updated information and forecasts, visit: www.nhc.noaa.gov.

Rob Gutro – NASA Goddard

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28 thoughts on “Major Hurricane Gonzalo Gives an "Eye-opening" Performance

  1. typo, 1st paragraph:
    NOAA’s GOES-East satellite provided and “eye-opening” view of Gonzalo,
    [Done. .mod]

  2. The latest from the National Hurricane Center shows the cane will hit Bermuda dead center on Friday and then continue to the north-northeast. It might hit as a category 4 hurricane. Now that will be bad news for those on that island.

  3. I wonder if the four Guantanamo detainees transferred there are still there. As I remember they lived on the south side of the main Island of Bermuda. I also remember that Bermuda is usually prepared for hurricanes and the last direct hit didn’t cause any major damage (because of their preparedness). Hopefully this will be the result this time too.

    • No deaths or major injuries. Also just roof damage, and downed trees – no catastrophic damage. If this size hurricane had hit Haiti or even Miami there would have been much more damage.

  4. The GFS model has the eastern eyewall (which has the strongest winds when the system is moving quickly as this one is) hitting Bermuda dead-on tomorrow afternoon and then St John’s Newfoundland with the eastern eyewall again dead-on late Saturday night.
    People in these areas need to be mega-prepared.

  5. Now this is a hurricane … unlike Hurricane Fay which held that status only for several hours, well after it had passed Bermuda.
    Scorecard … 7 named storms, 6 hurricanes (Dolly only made it as a tropical storm). After Gonzalo hits, Fay will seem like a pleasant memory.

  6. As I read this, it brought back memories of a night I spent listening
    to radio station ZNS as they broadcast about the storm that was
    hitting them. Maybe 1958? I was in western Penna.listening to the
    radio and heard the station talking about a storm they were having.
    It was from Nassau, Bahamas. The station was normally ‘day light
    only’ but due to the storm they were staying on the air. I listened on
    into the night. Good memories because my Dad was listening with
    me.
    Alfred

  7. I am beginning to wonder if we can believe these reports.
    Roy Spencer had a report of another 140Mph Hurricane last week
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/10/140-mph-typhoon-vongfong-approaches-okinawa/
    NuSchool’s Earth showed wind speeds of 120Kph, not Mph and low and behold when it hit land at “northern Mariana Islands on last Sunday, local time. Wind gusts over 89 kph (55 mph) and rainfall over 75 millimeters (3 inches) were common.””
    By the time it got to Okinawa it hardly made the news.
    Now we have NuSchool showing about 120Kph for “Hurricane” Gonzalo, if it too doesn’t show 100Mph+ winds then I think we may have another case of scare mongering like Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Phillippines which was “one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded”. But not according to a lot of other sources.

  8. ‘Castor and Pollux blow me to Bermuda!’ he exclaimed, and immediately vanished with a frightful roar.
    The Wart was still staring at his tutor’s chair in some perplexity, a few moments later, when Merlyn reappeared. He had lost his hat and his hair and beard were all tangled up, as if by a hurricane. He sat down again, straightening his gown with trembling fingers.
    ‘Why did you do that?’ asked the Wart.
    ‘I didn’t do it on purpose.’
    ‘Do you mean to say that Castor and Pollux did blow you to Bermuda?’
    ‘Let that be a lesson to you,’ replied Merlyn, ‘not to swear. I think we had better change the subject.'”

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