NASA and NOAA see massive rainfall and winds in Hurricane Irma – now Cat3



At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the center of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 18.8 North, longitude 39.1 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 13 mph (20 km/h). A turn toward the west-southwest is expected tomorrow.

Maximum sustained winds are near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Fluctuations in strength, up or down, are possible during the next few days, but Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through the weekend.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 964 mb (28.47 inches).


NASA gets a night-time and under-the-hood look at Hurricane Irma

NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP Satellite provided a night-time and infrared look at the Atlantic’s latest hurricane that revealed the power under the clouds. NASA’s GPM also provided a look at the rainfall being generated by Hurricane Irma.

After forming in the eastern Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday tropical storm Irma strengthened and became a powerful category three hurricane on Thursday August 31, 2017.


Finding Irma’s Heaviest Rainfall

That heavy rainfall was confirmed by the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite.

Hurricane Irma was moving west-northwestward with winds of about 115 mph (100 knots) when the GPM core Observatory satellite saw it on September 1 at 1:47 a.m. EDT (0547 UTC). Data collected by GPM’s Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) instruments showed the locations and intensity of heavy precipitation within the hurricane. GPM’s Radar (DPR Ku band) found that a powerful convective storm in a band of rain on Irma’s northern side was dropping rain at a rate of almost 6.3 inches (159 mm) per hour.

On Sept. 1 at 0347 UTC (Aug. 31 at 11:47 p.m. EDT) the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured a night-time infrared image of Hurricane Irma in the Atlantic Ocean that showed powerful thunderstorms around the eye. Credits: NASA/NOAA/UWM-CIMSS, William Straka III

GPM’s radar (DPR Ku Band) showed the height and the 3-D rainfall structure of powerful storms spiraling around hurricane Irma. DPR showed that storm tops were reaching heights of over 9.6 miles (15.5 km) in the band of powerful convective storms north of the hurricane’s center. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

On Sept. 1 at 1:47 a.m. EDT (0547 UTC) GPM core observatory found a band of rain on Irma’s northern side was dropping rain at a rate of almost 6.3 inches (159 mm) per hour where storm tops were reaching heights of over 9.6 miles (15.5 km). Credits: NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce

Irma’s Location and Strength on Sept. 1

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) on Sept. 1 that Irma was undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle. The small eye was becoming less distinct, with both microwave and visible imagery indicating the presence of a forming outer eyewall.

On Sept. 1 at 0347 UTC (Aug. 31 at 11:47 p.m. EDT) the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured a night-time image of Hurricane Irma in the Atlantic Ocean that showed a tight circulation. Credit:
CREDIT Credits: ASA/NOAA/UWM-CIMSS, William Straka III

The center of Hurricane Irma was located near 18.5 degrees north latitude and 27.8 degrees west longitude. That’s about 1,580 miles (2,540 km) east of the Leeward Islands. Irma was moving toward the west-northwest near 13 mph (20 kph). A turn toward the west is expected by tonight, followed by a turn toward the west-southwest on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph (175 kph) with higher gusts. Fluctuations in strength, up or down, are possible during the next few days, but Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through the weekend. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 972 millibars.

The NHC predicts that hurricane Irma will slowly intensify while heading toward the west-northwest. Irma is predicted to have winds of over 123 mph (110 knots) within the next five days. This would make Irma a strong category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. There is some uncertainty about the long term direction of Irma’s movement.


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September 1, 2017 5:03 pm

The predicted tracks are very uncertain right now including missing land altogether in a few runs but this hurricane will be a Cat5 at some point and you don’t want to be on the right side of the eyewall when/if it hits land.

Reply to  Bill Illis
September 1, 2017 5:10 pm

Ventusky has it going right over New York City….where they got that from I have no idea

Jeff L
Reply to  Latitude
September 1, 2017 5:18 pm

18Z GFS had that scenario
but waaay to early to have any confidence in that – look at spaghetti tracks – all over the place after 4 or 5 days

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Latitude
September 1, 2017 6:34 pm

Hope perhaps?

Reply to  Latitude
September 1, 2017 7:17 pm

I hope this is just a glitch…all the earlier runs had it looping out to sea
…this run those disappeared…comment image

Reply to  Latitude
September 1, 2017 7:54 pm

Thanks for the SFWMD link, Lat. More info from people with “skin in the game” is always welcome, and really hope that AEMN 01/1800Z line does not play out.

Don K
Reply to  Latitude
September 2, 2017 12:39 am

FWIW, I just checked Ventusky (at 170902:0320). The have the storm moving up the outer banks and the midatlantic coast a week from today. They put the eye over Philadelphia around noon on Sunday 170910 and thence to Syracuse, across Lake Ontario around midnight and into Ontario — still with inch-plus an hour rainfall.and 80mph gusts as it moves into Canada. Let’s hope that’s wrong.

Reply to  Latitude
September 2, 2017 9:44 am

This must be what Ventusky is looking at…

Reply to  Latitude
September 2, 2017 2:29 pm
September 1, 2017 5:17 pm

I have tried to explain to some people about the effect of the wind changing direction when you are in the direct path and they don’t really get it. Been in the eye of 3 different hurricanes, its much scarier in the dark.
I have been checking Irma on AccuWeather HC and watching it of&on through and she is building up to be a right bitch.

Reply to  2hotel9
September 1, 2017 7:25 pm

Last I looked, showed an open ocean storm surge height of 11 meters or so.

Reply to  Lurking
September 1, 2017 7:43 pm

I been checking movement and rainfall, did not look at that. Wow, that is a big assed hump in the ocean, if it combines with a high tide during any landfall it will be a monster.

Reply to  Lurking
September 2, 2017 3:10 am

Sorry – impossible. You are not going to get a lift of water around 33ft with only 120 mph wind that is 50 miles wide. Now, you can get waves that high, no problem.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Lurking
September 2, 2017 9:45 am

JKrob, maximum lift (hump) must coincide with the same limit for suction pumps < 7to 8m. Incidentally, thanks, you gave me an insight (certainly well known to hurricane specialists, I'm sure) that all that water that falls as rain is the suction evaporated water lifted from the "hump".

September 1, 2017 5:23 pm

Hoping it takes a hard right up east coast. One every 12 years is enough.
SARC below:
Maybe we can redirect all those windmills and deflect it?
Or install a few billion floating balls in its path to restrict it’s water uptake? Or maybe put Obama and Gore in a small boat to tame it, and make it behave before it becomes a catagory 6?
So many options, going to need a lot of $ FAST to study it and find a solution.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Brad
September 1, 2017 5:40 pm

Gore would certainly cause a cold front to hit it.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 1, 2017 5:47 pm

Dropping Algore:The Goreacle in front of it is the best idea I have seen so far!

September 1, 2017 5:31 pm

Experiencing a few hurricanes myself growing up in the Virgin Islands, my parents always taught me to never buy a house at the bottom of a hill. As a six year old child it seemed only logical. Today, it is just common sense.
There, in the Virgin Islands, if you were ‘well to do’, you lived in the hills. In North America the ‘well to do’ live near the ocean/rivers. Yet the ‘well to do’ have the best insurance policies. Well… that is just common sense isn’t it……

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Duncan
September 1, 2017 5:42 pm

Clearly you have never priced flood insurance. The first $250,000 is Federal and fairly cheap. Everything above 250 is private and really expensive. I was once in charge of taking care of a $10 million house for an estate. I decided to rely on the power of prayer.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 1, 2017 5:48 pm

Or you could live at the top of a hill, or a 5 ft mound, no need to pray (missing the point).

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 1, 2017 6:09 pm

It is obviously common sense to stop building houses in flood-plains or at the beach where a hurricane hits every 20 years.
But somebody owns that land now and how do you say that land you bought is now basically worthless. They fight back and they have money so it is very difficult for any government or regulator. And then the developers tend to have inside influence which can’t even be under-estimated. Developers run rough-shod over most municipalities in case you didn’t know.
Any government-owned land in those areas should be a strict building moratorium area and then one has to say “you knew what the rules were when you bought this land” (whatever those were) and don’t let developers change the rules afterward. Otherwise, NO insurance. They should take the loss when they build in a place which is obviously a once-in-20-year-loser investment.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 1, 2017 6:38 pm

Local governments are tasked with developing land to the highest and best use in order to collect the most in property taxes for their local governments. Since local governments do not fund flood insurance or foot the bill for major disaster relief, they do not care. But as I posted on another thread, should we ban all building in tornado prone areas, ice storm areas, earthquake areas and any other area that might suffer a natural disaster? Why not ban building altogether and return to being hunter gatherers where only the strong survive.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 1, 2017 6:53 pm

You all have good points. Just suggesting, human memories are good for about 20 years or so. Why are we so shocked when natural disasters happen, when we’ve placed ourselves in the path. Unfortunately the insurance companies will pay to rebuild “exactly” what was destroyed, at the exact same elevation, with the exact same materials. Everyone will be happy for the next 20 years…..wash, rinse, repeat, we shall be shocked again (possibly this year).

Reply to  Duncan
September 1, 2017 7:34 pm

It has always amazed me how local and state building code agencies make it so difficult and expensive to innovate building design and materials in regions where natural disasters are the norm. They fight tooth&nail to keep people doing the same thing and using the same materials. It is pretty well impossible to build a hurricane/tornado/wildfire proof structure, but you can damned well harden them against damage. And you would think insurers would be leading the charge on this.
Just checked latest track plots at AW Hurricane center and they are showing it moving at 13 mph in a generally westward line, think Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic may take this one right in the teeth.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 1, 2017 11:48 pm


It is obviously common sense to stop building houses in flood-plains or at the beach where a hurricane hits every 20 years.

The other answer is stop building flimsy wooden structure that blow away in the wind. We have the technology to build seismic resistant and storm resistant structures. Yet look at all the debris. it is basically pathetic wooden shacks that crumple in high winds.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 2, 2017 9:54 am
Reply to  Duncan
September 1, 2017 6:36 pm

There is never “common sense” regards where the well healed choose to live.

Reply to  rvandoffroad
September 2, 2017 3:25 am

You live where you want, the key is you pay your own insurance as well!

Reply to  rvandoffroad
September 2, 2017 11:05 am

Not completely true. I once visited a rich man on the Kona coast of Hawaii. While his house was not on pylons, it had a very open, fairly tall, ground floor with only a bit of storage. The residence was at least 10 ft above ground level, let alone sea level. (I’d not be surprised if he self-insured.)

September 1, 2017 6:13 pm

I’m praying it stays out at sea. The Northeast hasn’t fully recovered from Sandy yet and Harvey’s cleanup and rebuilding will take untold years. Irma already looks scary as sh*t.

Michael Jankowski
September 1, 2017 6:21 pm

Mann, Gore, Trenberth, et al, are salivating.

September 1, 2017 6:39 pm

Prepare for the worst and hope and pray for the best,on the chin of NC

spangled drongo
September 1, 2017 7:02 pm

On the Gold Coast in SE Queensland, Australia, we haven’t had a serious cyclone since 1976 when we used to get half a dozen a year quite regularly for decades prior.
Development has skyrocketed but memories have faded. Sites where houses were washed out to sea 50 years ago have houses that have changed hands for multi-millions.
We all know the verdict when normal weather returns.

Reply to  spangled drongo
September 2, 2017 3:28 am

I’d laugh if you didn’t hit the nail on its head.

John Miller
September 1, 2017 8:20 pm

Those spaghetti lines seem to suggest that the Lesser Antilles will only be grazed, with the Greater Antilles will also be similarly spared. Those living or vacationing in the Bahamas will really have to worry, though. And if the general track holds, it looks like the south Atlantic US coast (between Virginia and Florida) will be in for a pounding.

Bill Parsons
September 1, 2017 8:58 pm

Health, auto, and homeowners’ insurance institutions drive up costs, create enormous bureaucracies, delay recovery and repair, intrude in and exploit people’s private lives (by gathering and selling data), and encourage people to engage in worse health, driving and building practices than they would otherwise have.
Nothing would hold doctors’ feet to the fire more effectively than a direct pay system that forced them to explain diagnoses, treatment options and costs to patients.
Do world’s-safest drivers who subject themselves to State Farm’s or other companies’ “telematics” tracking procedures actually experience cheaper rates? How much cheaper than other drivers? And how much information is Nationwide hawking on the open market?
(from one presently engaged in re-roofing after hail): the behind-the-scenes shenanigans between adjusters and roofers; the disconnect between actual costs of re-roofing and the payouts; the difficulty in making needed improvements in an older house… are jaw-dropping!
“Leaders” who announce “We’ll have you rebuilt in no time… just the way you were,” are enabling the problem to persist. Individual owners and businesses will have to take the lead to bullet-proof their homes and workplaces because there is little genuine incentive to improve things beyond the status quo.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Bill Parsons
September 2, 2017 12:55 am

Would a metal roof have prevented the hail damage you’re fixing?
(I have one and it only became noisy, not damaged, in a big hailstorm. (No big stones in it though.)

Reply to  Roger Knights
September 2, 2017 12:57 pm

Pound on your roof with a hammer and if the dents don’t bother you’re good to go. Personally I like my metal roof a lot.

September 1, 2017 9:04 pm

So the track is he trick. Anyone want to bet on where it will make landfall? I will say northern GA or southern SC… any other predictions? (i’ll say just south of Charleston, SC)…
if you win you get a free ticket to _____________…

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
September 1, 2017 9:52 pm

J., with a name like Irma, i’m betting New Orleans. (cat 5 right up the mississipp)…

Reply to  afonzarelli
September 4, 2017 9:00 am

I’ve wondered why they don’t name hurricanes with more “appropriate” names – like Death Megatron or Poison Wind or Savage Butcher or something. Prolly get a lot more evacuation with those names.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
September 1, 2017 10:11 pm

As of Fridays daily update video Joe Bastardi had SC right in the middle of his cone.

September 1, 2017 9:05 pm

“Maximum sustained winds are near 120 mph”
Curious, is this wind speed at the surface?
Spoke to a retired MIT Prof who know works for NOAA. When I asked him about the difference
between reported wind speeds and actual wind speeds at ground level. He was quite direct
about it saying cat 3/4/5 are very rare because of the friction at lower altitudes to the cyclonic winds.
It seems that we reduce the significance of older storms when aircraft measurements were not possible.
Back then measurements were made on ground and from ships at sea.
It seems we are embracing and apples and oranges comparison.

Reply to  EW3
September 1, 2017 10:02 pm

Supposedly the final formal classification of these storms based on wind speeds taken from unobstructed sites 10 meters from the ground.

Reply to  EW3
September 2, 2017 5:28 am

Yes, I agree w/the apples & oranges idea. It’s a crock to rate hurricane winds from high in the air when the effects are on the ground where the wind damage occurs. It is an inaccurate rigged system, but since it meets the needs of bureaucrats it won’t change.
I live in FL at sea level. Water more worrisome than wind in most situations.

Reply to  Eric
September 2, 2017 1:01 pm

I live 500′ above the Mississippi in Wisconsin. I’ll be watching with the casual disinterest of someone who chose a reasonably secure location to live. Good luck.

September 2, 2017 12:39 am

High solar activity will cause the jet stream will remain in the north. Hurricane will not change his path to the Caribbean.

Reply to  ren
September 2, 2017 10:01 am

HIS path? HER name is Irma!

September 2, 2017 12:51 am

The jet stream to the north accelerate, which will allow the strengthening of the hurricane.

Reply to  ren
September 2, 2017 5:45 am

ren, thanks for that map link.

September 2, 2017 2:12 am

When a hurricane approaches the Caribbean will be thunderstorms on the coast of Texas.

September 2, 2017 2:30 am

Low temperatures in the eastern Pacific are conducive to hurricanes in the Caribbean.comment image

September 2, 2017 3:57 am

Current pattern of streams in the stratosphere. Visible high pressure in the southwest US.

Reply to  ren
September 2, 2017 6:58 am

Added to the that is the warmer waters off the coast of Africa.

Leo Smith
September 2, 2017 4:32 am

I’m guessing on missing the West Indies and Bahamas just, and Florida, and grazing up the East coast with a 50 50 chance of mayhem in and around the NY area or pottering off into the jetrsream and dumping bad weather on the UK…

Go Home
September 2, 2017 4:43 am
The above link is what I use to check on current ACE activity. It is DR. RYAN N. MAUE weatherbell models website. It no longer is working the past 2 days. Anyone know watt is up with that?

September 2, 2017 7:50 am

Here you can track the current location of the hurricane.

Reply to  ren
September 3, 2017 6:37 am

I don’t see a high pressure system coming from the south to force Irma into a northern track. Everything I am finding is showing a continued track south of 20th parallel. Possible striking Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic could push her into a track through Straits of Florida into Gulf, worst of all possible scenarios. She is still running west at 12-15 mph and still very compact. Going to start prelim loadout this afternoon, shoiuld know what this bitch is going to do by Wed. morning.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  ren
September 3, 2017 2:07 pm

What is the status of that circulating low just west-north-west of Irma? That looks like it might be developing as well.

September 2, 2017 7:52 am

Seems a little spot of dry air and cooler SSTs have retarded development for now but she’ll no doubt ramp back up again as she moves into the more favorable conditions to the west.

Reply to  RAH
September 2, 2017 10:20 am
Gary Pearse
September 2, 2017 10:10 am

If this one turns NW, it is likely to give Bahamas a blow and then slide up the coastline ~along SCarolina and north. It seems to me hurricanes approaching that coast at an acute angle tend to follow the coast northward, as if the warm water offshore pulls it seaward instead of slanting inland. Speculation,but a lot of hurricanes have followed this path under these geometric conditions.

Gunga Din
September 2, 2017 10:49 am

Here’s Mann’s chance to tell us just how “climate change” will make it worse before the fact rather than after the fact.
(I’m assuming he already knows whether it will or will not make landfall.)

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
September 2, 2017 10:51 am

PS Michael, no fair going to Bastardi’s site first!

Gunga Din
Reply to  vukcevic
September 2, 2017 1:59 pm

A picture is worth a thousand words … or a hockey stick.

Reply to  Gunga Din
September 2, 2017 2:10 pm

It is often believed that appearance of this ‘distinguished’ bird adorned with the feather-light gown of knowledge ‘professes’ catastrophe.

Mumbles McGuirck
September 2, 2017 2:08 pm

Keep in mind, Irma is a small storm. It will intensify quickly but also diminish quickly. Also the models have been trending away from the US East Coast. Let’s hope that trend continues.

September 2, 2017 2:29 pm
September 2, 2017 3:18 pm

Another system is preceded by a tropical hurricane Irma.

September 2, 2017 4:09 pm

It is called a Hurricane. Someone have the guys at NASA Google that and look at what destruction they used to bring routinely to the North American Continent…. oh yeah, that was until the warmist nutjob Al Gore predicted many more and more intense storms to come than Katrina (Cat 3) in 2005. Finally we had a mini-Hurricane that turned into a Tropical Storm Rain Event….albeit a very bad rain event, but only because it sat on top of the 4th largest city in North America for 3 days.

Reply to  Gordon Jeffrey Giles
September 3, 2017 5:01 pm

Katrina wasps classified as a 5

Charles Nelson
September 2, 2017 4:39 pm

My guess is it’s heading for Newfoundland.

Reply to  Charles Nelson
September 2, 2017 8:46 pm

I am worried about the Falkland Islands.

Reply to  toorightmate
September 2, 2017 9:05 pm

Falklands? Seriously? Irma won’t be anywhere near it!

Leo Smith
Reply to  toorightmate
September 3, 2017 12:10 am

I think that was his point

September 2, 2017 11:06 pm

The animation shows a strong east current in the Caribbean Sea. This may mean a return to rain on the Texas coast.

September 3, 2017 9:16 am

Irma hurricane heading to the Lesser Antilles.

September 3, 2017 4:59 pm

Flooding in Florida?

Reply to  Dave
September 3, 2017 7:31 pm

Hurricane IRMA
As of 00:00 UTC Sep 04, 2017:
Location: 17.3N 50.4W
Maximum Winds: 100 kt Gusts: 120 kt
Minimum Central Pressure: 959 mb
Environmental Pressure: 1012 mb
Radius of Circulation: 240 NM
Radius of Maximum Wind: 15 NM
Eye Diameter: N/A
Atmospheric pressure decreases. Latitude decreases. The hurricane is moving to the Lesser Antilles.

Reply to  ren
September 3, 2017 7:58 pm

She has definitely held well below 20th, AccuWeather lists her as being down to 17.5 and still tracking west at 12-15mph. Eyewall appears to have opened up in the last few hours which usually is an indication of increasing strength. She is still compact, all the same, which is damned worrying.

Reply to  Dave
September 4, 2017 1:15 am

This hurricane will cause great havoc and may reach Florida.

September 4, 2017 4:01 am

The further path of the hurricane depends on when the jet stream presses on the eastern US.

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