International Space Station gets dramatic view of hurricane #Irma

The International Space Station’s external cameras captured another dramatic view of Hurricane Irma as it made landfall in the Caribbean Sept. 6.

The powerful Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 185 mph made landfall on several islands while continuing on a westward track. Irma is expected to bring severe wind and rain to several islands in the Caribbean over the next several days with the potential to impact the Florida peninsula by week’s end.

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73 thoughts on “International Space Station gets dramatic view of hurricane #Irma

  1. Why are current wind speeds at Arecibo airport in PR only 50mph currently. Are all the airport wind gauges lying or out of service? Windtracker is showing wind speeds much less than advertised.

    • PR is a US territory and pueroricans are US citizens. Yet no one down there seems to matter. Next on Irma’s hit list.

      • U.S. Virgin Islands spent money intended to help after hurricanes

        (Reuters) – The U.S. Virgin Islands for years redirected money intended to help pay insurance claims after large disasters for other needs, raising the vulnerability of residents as Hurricane Irma ravishes the territory.

        During years of yawning budget deficits, the U.S. protectorate tapped the V.I. Insurance Guaranty Fund to pay for other public services, according to government financial records reviewed by Reuters. Since 2007, nearly $200 million was transferred from the fund, including $45 million in fiscal 2011.

    • looks like the eye is well off the coast. PR coast is just on the edge of the envelop of hurricane force winds.

    • And they won’t. You don’t read any of the reports from the NHC or understand the wind structures of tropical cyclones do you? Look at the wind radii reported from the hurricane hunters:

      ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 914 MB
      EYE DIAMETER 20 NM
      MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 160 KT WITH GUSTS TO 195 KT.
      64 KT……. 45NE 45SE 30SW 45NW.
      50 KT…….100NE 70SE 50SW 70NW.
      34 KT…….160NE 120SE 80SW 150NW.
      12 FT SEAS..390NE 90SE 60SW 270NW.
      WINDS AND SEAS VARY GREATLY IN EACH QUADRANT. RADII IN NAUTICAL
      MILES ARE THE LARGEST RADII EXPECTED ANYWHERE IN THAT QUADRANT.

      Notice the winds drop from 160 kts in the eye wall to 64 kts 30 miles away. Why would you expect the max reported winds so far from the eye wall? (PR is on the weak side, BTW)

      • Apparent;y too many people do not realize that maximum winds are only in a small portion of the eye wall. Many believe that ,when looking at a visual, the entire area is maximum winds.

      • [MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 160 KT WITH GUSTS TO 195 KT] Yes. But at what height? 850MB? The news is fearmongering with over and over winds at 185mph. At 185mph on the surface it would rip off roofs and destroy anything in its path. So far that is not happening. As alarmists always tell us. “It’s the surface where we live”.

      • [MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 160 KT WITH GUSTS TO 195 KT] Yes. But at what height? 850MB?

        Again – You don’t read any of the reports from the NHC or understand the wind structures of tropical cyclones do you?

      • You’re “completley” missing my point. I get how the winds are not equal in all parts of the storm. They moved the goal posts! Instead of reporting surface winds where the storm is ACTUALLY hitting they’re reporting one small area on the N wall at 850MB +/-. This is right out of the alarmist play book.

      • And are in the latitudes in which no tropical storms form.

        It all stems from his pointing out that the picture of earth with Antarctic at the top was hung the wrong way!

    • Gloateus
      September 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      According to AlGore, Irma is above the ISS.

      Probably because he is too simple to realise that the pictures from the ISS are shown from their perspective and show earth as being in “their sky” as we see the moon, for instance. So the moon/earth is “above”.

      It’s easier to see what I mean if you view the ISS pictures. It’s all relative.

      SteveT

  2. Fake news! Lame CGI effects created by Industry elites to raise gas prices and line the pockets of those liberill croonies. #MAGA glad Trump is here to drain the swamp! I live in FLorida their ain’t no storms. Stay woke people!!

    • Forrest. This is from NOAA (Geezus JKrob, no reason to be obtuse): Measurement of the hurricane surface wind field, and in particular the estimation of wind maxima, has long been a requirement of the Tropical Prediction Center/OAR. The NOAA/Hurricane Research Division’s Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) is the prototype for a new generation of airborne remote sensing instruments designed for operational surface wind estimation in hurricanes.

  3. The eye of Irma passed directly over the island of Barbuda.
    “As the front southwestern eyewall of Irma hit, Barbuda reported sustained winds of 118 mph, gusting to 155 mph, before the instrument failed.”

    • 20-25 miles in diameter. But conditions fluctuate all the time. These are dynamic weather events that are not easily predictable unlike climate science which is set in stone 100 years into the future.

      • Tom, I have a friend in Fort Pierce that is on the latest tracking line and was hoping you could answer a question for me or anyone else who might know. Is it worse to have the eye go over or to have the eye just to the west and be in the northeast quad? Thanks in advance.

        Hope you stay safe!

  4. Great sequence. Thanks, Anthony.

    Many things look better from far away. When you are standing on a mountain peak looking down on a town, you don’t get sucked into the quarreling going on in the houses, and seem to hear whispers of how life makes sense. However when you walk down into the town that above-it-all detachment is lost.

    Looking down at a hurricane from space I often wonder over the fact that what I am looking at is a chaotic system. How can this be? It is such a wonderful, symmetrical spiral. How can chaos create such symmetry? What is it I am missing? I become philosophical, and think of God.

    Down below in Barbuda no one was talking about symmetry, but I’ll bet many were also thinking of God.

  5. Very cool, got to say, though, that camera work puts me in mind of my wife taking pictures from the vehicle as we drive by things.

  6. As a resident of Florida I’ve been following this closely most of the day. One thing that has been bugging me is the methodology of the measurements. If I’ve learned anything from following this site it would be to follow the data which is available in almost real time from the planes that have been flying into the storm. If you pull up the raw data file and spend some time decoding the information per the HDOB format specified by the NHC several items jump out.

    First is that the metric used for intensity is a peak reading over a 10 second interval. Second is that each line of data is based on 30 seconds of observations and the peak reading is generally several knots higher than the averaged value. Third is that each line has a quality flag at the end that can indicate if the parameters of the stepped frequency microwave radar (SFMR) or recorded meterological data is “questionable”.

    I haven’t put the data into a spreadsheet yet but from scanning the entries it would appear that the closer to the eyewall where the most severe readings are made more than 50% of the data is flagged as possibly questionable.

    So from some preliminary analysis of the raw data from the last recon (AF309-1511A) showed a maximum 10 second peak of 163 kts (187 mph) but the SFMR reading was 131 kts (150 mph) and the quality flag was questionable. Within a minute on either side of the max reading the peak and averaged values were significantly lower (122 / 142 kts) as the plane left the eyewall.

    SFMR has been used on the NOAA aircraft since at least 2008 but the accuracy of measuring the surface emissivity with radar between 4.55 and 7.22 GHz and correlating that to wind effects causing foam on the ocean surface seem like it would be fraught with the same data quality and calibration issues that plague the satellites measuring sea ice extent.

    In addition to the flight level data multiple dropsondes are used which report the wind speeds as they fall to the surface. The dropsonde reading from the northern eye wall shows 163 kts as the average wind in the lowest 500m but at or near the surface only 132 kts.

    I guess what I am ultimately trying to get a better understanding of is what processing and numerical massaging is done after the fact. Does the quality flag data get thrown out? By what factor do winds measured at flight level above 2.5 km get attenuated when they are extrapolated to only 10m above the surface? In past memory storm intensities were based on a 60 second maximum sustained value not 10 second peak.

    Don’t get me wrong anything over 100 mph is going to have devastating effects with an eye landfall but it seems like the intensity in the NHC advisories is very misleading unless your beach condo is 500m above sea level and happens to be within 5 miles of the north eastern eyewall.

    • Dear FL engineer,
      Great questions and observations!
      I am somewhat disappointed no one from WUWT has done a report on this. Perhaps in time they will.
      I have similar questions regarding the history of Hurricane ratings, and if past estimates are likely under reported due to less reading stations, few and or zero flights, instrument changes on those flights, no satellites, and or instrument changes on those satellites.

      Leif S has made adjustments to the solar record for such changing capacity of observation abilities.

  7. Track is steadily shifting northwards. Look less likely for a direction landfall in FLA But with a lot of rain and massive storm swell there will be extensive flooding.

    Looks like Cuba is going to be spared a major hit too.

    • Amazingly, when I click on the map of the NYT the names of the islands appear in German, like “Dominikanische Republik” or “Kuba”. Did the NYT take a loan at Merkel or was it used as a basis for the Diercke Weltatlas or are the USER traced back and used their language as a term? Truly amazing! https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/05/us/hurricane-irma-map.html?ref=oembed

      Moreover, according to the last runs of the GFS, it looks as if the main load of precipitation and also the main storm field sweep along the coast and across the sea. After the precipitation and wind maps, the inland residents of Florida are comparatively light-hearted. Above all, if you compare the amount of water with Harvey in Texas. The latter penetrated into the interior of the country, and there wobbled several days
      http://www.wetterzentrale.de/topkarten.php?map=2&model=gfs&var=4&run=0&time=96&lid=OP&h=0&mv=0&tr=3#mapref

      • I would guess that you have configured a “preferred language” in your browser. That info is transmitted to any server which asks for it. Looks like NYT or the map provider is provinding a mulitlingual overlay of place names.

        If you are using FFx you can remove or alter the preferred language.

    • Yep …. I noticed that as well. Forecast hasn’t changed at all. Before you know it, the track will be going up to Greenland but the forecast will still be coming down to destroy Miami. The Lame Brain Media wants this to be a catastrophe so bad it hurts.

      • Yep, “media” want dead babies to film. Just not the dead babies Planned Parenthood chops up and sells, they are OK with those dead babies. Death, destruction, poverty, starvation, disease, murder, rape, looting, genocide? People in “media” only care about all these things as far as they can personally and politically profit from them. Don’t take my word for it, look at their ACTIONS concerning all these things. They don’t lift a finger to stop any of it, their personal profits would drop if they did that. Starving children and women? They don’t offer any of their water and food, they are well fed, and hop back on their transport and leave. [snip] Enemies of the human race, every one of them.

  8. Ok, this truck driver has a climate/meteorological question for the subject matter experts.
    I have read many times that tropical cyclones are like heat pumps pulling energy from the warm water and surrounding air. Much of that energy is expended mechanically in the winds produced, some of it is carried up high and ends up radiated out into space, and some of it is retained in the cloud formations. Perhaps there are other mechanisms where the energy is dissipated or lost or retained.

    Anyway hurricanes are great coolers is my understanding and we are having a very active season this year with three hurricanes spinning all at once. With this much energy being converted or lost it would seem to me that the cooling caused by them would be discernable at some point especially since the three are only separated by about 45 deg. of longitude and 8 deg. of latitude?

  9. Oh BTW this truck driver just got in from driving all night and is subject to being called to work again in less than 9 hours so I’m going to bed. But I will check back to gather any information anyone is kind enough to share as soon as I can.

  10. I was watching Florida’s governor announce the mandatory evacuation of the Florida Keys… EPA regulations are being suspended to allow more fuel into the state. That’s fossil fuel, not batteries.

    Pity the Key West Tesla owner that can’t use air conditioning and get much further north than Orlando. Takes two days to get out of the way of the hurricane in that fancy EV, if a charging station can be found. Otherwise, useless as a brick.

    Where’s Roger Sowell explaining how wonderfully all the wind and solar power is performing? Any of those Caribbean islands have their fossil fuel plants blown away?

    • Gasoline is short along the major evacuation routes I hear. They can suspend all the rules for the tanker drivers and other supplies that are considered vital that they want, but people are using it faster than it can be hauled in right now in some areas apparently. I suspect the same would be true for marine applications as people seek to move their vessels north.

  11. When a place gets such a direct hit like that they get nailed with the highest winds twice, which is bad enough. But what makes it worse is for the second hit the winds are coming in at or about 180 degrees from those that hit the first time. Thus much of the debris that was blown up against more stable objects in the first pass once again become airborne going back the other direction.

    • Reverse wind effect. I have tried to explain this to people over the years, and their response is”wind is wind”. Some people’s children.

      • Wind driven wave effects definitely combines with storm surge. Increased tidal erosion is a major problem, altering channels and re-contouring beaches substantially.

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