Stunning video closeup of the eye of #HurricaneFlorence

The GOES-16 satellite has been producing stunning imagery every since it made orbit. Today is no exception. Here is a closeup view of the eye of Hurricane Florence as it nears the Carolinas. This video was taken yesterday during rapid strengthening of the hurricane as it reached Category4 status. It may take a bit to load.

h/t to Dr. Roy Spencer.

From NHC:

At 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Florence was
located near latitude 26.7 North, longitude 65.3 West. Florence
is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h). A west-
northwestward to northwestward motion with a slight increase in
forward speed are expected during the next couple of days.  On
the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the
southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas through
Wednesday, and approach the coast of North Carolina or South
Carolina in the hurricane watch area Thursday and Friday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher
gusts.  Florence is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson
Hurricane Wind Scale.  Florence is expected to begin re-
strengthening later today and continue a slow strengthening trend
for the next day or so.  While some weakening is expected on
Thursday, Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major
hurricane through landfall.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from the
center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles
(240 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 950 mb (28.06 inches).

Here is the latest forecast cone as of this writing:

While we brace for the landfall of Florence, we also brace for the predictable caterwauling of climate alarmists that will surely say this hurricane has been “made worse” by climate change.

103 thoughts on “Stunning video closeup of the eye of #HurricaneFlorence

  1. Stunning indeed. Thank you.

    Typo: “Here is a closeup view of the eye of Hurricane Florence as in nears the Carolinas.”

  2. Wow. Great video, Dr. Spencer. What’s the timing of that clip? I see the numbers at the bottom going from ~130000 and change to ~160000 and change. Is that hours (left 2 digits), minutes (middle 2 digits) and seconds (right 2 digits), perhaps?

    • GOES-16 band 2 image visible image. The 18253 is the yy-julian date (2018 julian day 253). The running numbers are the UTC time. Subtract 4 hours to get EDT.
      The video is running 1000x speed time lapse – 11,000 actual seconds in 11 viewing seconds.

      • joelobryan

        It might be useful to view this at 1000x speed from a scientific perspective but if this is used by the media and the speed differential isn’t clearly explained, it’s just another means of terrifying the gullible.

        Doubtless it’ll be loaded up to numerous Youtube clips and broadcast on alarmist sites with little or no explanation. Very misleading.

        • The original image size is 978×1071 pixels, then scaled down 50%. That total 3 hour raw video would be several hundreds of gigabytes, so it is running probably on a Unix workstation with some serious computing video frame rate horsepower. Then that clip was seriously compressed into a 11 second animated 640×480 pixel GIF file of 30 Mb size for your viewing pleasure.

        • Awesome, also.

          I am in my sixties, and still am in awe of what can be done [for good or otherwise] with modern technology, IT, etc.
          I can handle emails and the internet, and Word and XL. Probably photoshop.
          And a few functions on my phone . . .

          I remember in 1970, being part of a class discussion of a maths problem that we could put into card form, and eventually send to the local university computer, by phone/modem.
          We got an answer a week later [our 10 seconds of computer time was apparently on a Sunday morning], again via modem; then to cards, then decode
          And, yes – 8×7+3 = 59.
          And today – ohhhh wow!

          Palaeolithic? Me? Maybe [on a good day!].


      • That answered my question Joel. There is no way it looks that ferocious. But it gets the point across. It is big and bad.

    • I hear this is their “super rapid-scan” mode, one image every 30 secs. Amazing technology from 22,000+ miles away.

  3. Latest ECMWF Euro model ensemble is still predicting a somewhat more southerly track, hitting right at the N-South stateline, a distance of about 75 miles. I trust that prediction more than the NOAA GFS model.

    Florence will very likely undergo an eyewall replacement cycle (ERC) probably either Wednesday night or Thursday night, which will cause it to lose some intensity as it approaches the coast. As the storms moves northward and over warmer waters, the outer bands strengthen as they have more access to warm water energy and an improving teleconnection between the surface and the lowering tropopause. The outer bands for the new wall form a complete annulus and cut-off the compact inner wall from its advection of warm moist air. The inner eye wall collapses, and the storm actually wobbles a bit as angular momentum shifts outward and loses strength for about 12 hours.

      • I’m not a meteorologist and joelobryan can correct me if I’m wrong, but the ERC is just a normal process that hurricanes go through, and it can happen several times during the progression of a hurricane. I’m not sure, but I think it may be more common, or at least better observed, in larger hurricanes.

      • An ERC is a very complex phenomenon, as most things in nature, that defy simple explanations.
        Once the original eye-wall gets compact (lowers its central pressure, usually just after sunset when the lower stratosphere cools, and after moving over a warmer batch of water) it is susceptible to becoming completely (or nearly completely) surrounded by a new annular bands of cumulonimbus heat towers. The cumulonimbus heat towers in the original inner eye wall are deprived of their sustaining inflow of warm saturated air (their fuel). They begin to collapse. The central pressure increases. The wind speeds decline as angular momentum transfers outward (as in the spinning ice figure skater letting her arms out a bit).

        The outer band (new) eyewall organizes as its heat towers gain better connection to the tropopause and have access to the undisturbed warmer waters ahead of the advancing wind field.

        The tropopause is where the eye wall cumulonimbus heat tower tops spread-out and lift just into the stratosphere where the temps are coldest. Without this connection to tropopause a hurricane will begin to dissipate. The heat flow from warm surface to cold tropopause-stratosphere interface is what drives the hurricane’s engine. The bigger the delta T between surface and cloud tops, the more efficient this atmospheric heat engine runs.

        In the time lapse video clip above, watch the last few seconds. Notice in the upper right side of the frame the big outer storms form. You will see these outer feeding bands popping up. As the storm strengthens and the eye’s core tightens, those outer bands will become more numerous, and finally encircle the whole inner eye wall.

    • Actually the 12Z Euro has it stalling off ILM, then going SW and coming onshore at Savannah, then over SC to Central TN, north to NW Ohio. This is a complete change of impact if it happens.

      Florence will go down as the most confounding storm ever for the models.

    • Right.

      Seaman’s mug’s question.

      There is, periodically, discussion of some ship – with three or four tall [stability-destroying??] towers – that spray sea water into the air for some [apparent] climate-control purpose.

      Pop a small nuclear power station on board, and your power is assured.

      But – to the present subject – would a vessel [or more then one] like this, running across the likely line of advance of the storm/hurricane, and pulling up cool waters from way below the sea surface, and spraying same out locally, reduce the energy available to the storm, when it passes several hours later [no point in our ship being in harm’s way], significantly [note – significantly] – reduce the intensification of the storm/hurricane?

      My gut feeling is ‘No’: –
      Too little cold water up on to the surface
      Too much mixing
      Too long delay before the storm passes – and doubtless other drawbacks.

      But – the comments of browsers here are invited.
      Whether backing my gut-feeling or otherwise.


      • Well, first thing is that the ocean is big. Really, really big. If you work out the area of the track that you would have to cover, I don’t know that there are enough ships in the world to manage it.

        Second thing is, that assuming you succeed, what you will have done is create a (relatively) higher pressure zone. From which the hurricane will tend to “shy away” – and probably not in a direction that you want it to (most likely to a coast that is not frantically preparing for it).

        Way back when, I think that Ben Bova described the only way that we are likely to “control” a hurricane. (The novel was “The Weathermakers” from back in 1967.) Essentially, break the heat engine that powers it by warming up the tops of the heat towers (see joelobryan’s most excellent summary on this post). Bova described massive cloud seeding operations, to cause condensation, and orbital IR lasers. Although I think he was a bit off in just how many Joules you would have to pour into it.

        Oh, just remembered, it’s been quite a while since I read it. Bova stipulated that you had to catch the storm when it was just barely out of tropical depression stage, only beginning to organize itself. That actually made it more plausible as something that we might be able to do someday, although the power level of those lasers would make me quite nervous!

        • W.O.
          Indeed, the Oceans are big.
          A total volume of perhaps 800 million cubic kilometres. All humanity fits into one cubic kilometre.
          Cape Town to Buenos Aires, even at 15 knots, is about nine days, IIRC – and we never saw another ship until we could see the loom of the BA lights.
          A very large amount of water to cross.

          But, given we know [we think] the approximate track of, for now, Florence, a reasonable guess at a cross-advance track could be made.
          I am not sure whether the amount of ‘cold’ water produced – even by several 10,000 tonne/hour pumps – alongside the cross-advance track, would be enough.
          The mixing induced by the pumping and spraying, etc., may only reduce surface temperatures by [perhaps] a degree [F or C probably doesn’t matter at this level of thought-wander], across, maybe, a two hundred metre swathe.
          So, one hundred such ships might be able to ‘cool a bit’ some twenty kilometres along the advance track [if all crossing at ninety degrees to such advance], if optimally placed.

          I am not familiar with the Bova novel – but I think that ‘nipping in the bud’ might, possibly, be enough to stop a small number of TDs developing into TSs or bigger.


      • Hurricanes (and lesser storms) serve a purpose. Namely they carry energy and moisture from the tropics into the mid-latitudes.
        If you stop these functions — then what?
        Would you like for the rivers of the eastern regions to decrease to, say, half their current yearly volume? How will the ecosystems of the eastern mountains change?
        No trees! Uff da!

        • John,
          I agree.
          My mug’s question is related only to – possibly – reducing hurricane intensity a little bit.
          ‘Every little helps’ – or so we are told.
          But having now stuck a few very rough numbers in – see my response above to Writing Observer – this would be no more than a tiny reduction, at best.
          At considerable expense.

          Each ship would likely be several tens of million dollars, even with production-line nuclear reactors. [The Environmentalists’ favourites?]

          A hundred such ships – several billions.
          Plus costs – insurance, maintenance, crewing. And only likely used for a few days each year – if they can be positioned in a timely way.

          An interesting thought-wander, but not practical politics.
          Again, my thanks.


      • GOES -16 is still not “officially” on-line. But it is producing somespectacular images with its modern cameras. GOES-East is like old standard definition TV, then GOES-16 is 4K HDTV.

        New tech has its problems though.
        Sadly- GOES-17 is the malfunctioning satellite out over the Pacific. (a bum cooling system for its IR sensors).

        • “GOES -16 is still not “officially” on-line.”

          That is factually incorrect. On December 18, 2017, GOES-16 was declared NOAA’s GOES-East operational satellite. GOES-17, with it’s problems, will probably become operational toward winter (Nov/Dec). It is in post testing now producing images.

  4. It’s almost as awesome as the spin the climastrologists will be putting on it in their efforts to blame it on “manmade climate change”.

  5. I have friends who live in the Carolinas. They were out sailing yesterday. This morning, I sent them this NOAA report:
    LOCATION…26.7N 65.3W

    Their response was ‘we’re on it’. I think they plan to head for the hills or something, but it is going to be quite a storm.

    The two following (Helene and Isaac) seem to bulking up already. and are rather close together on the weather radar map.

    • You may want to warn your friends that forecasts have Florence stalling once it makes landfall, and there is going to be flooding in the Carolinas. And flash flooding in “the hills”. So make sure their refuge is away from creek vallies and low spots.

    • surely the following two will be smaller or take a different track due to the vast amount of energy removed from the ocean surface by the first storm ?

    • One of my favorite ‘quick look’ sites for temps and wind speeds!
      In particular, explore the wind speeds at different altitudes. 1500 m above sea level is currently showing Florence wind speeds in the 120 – 130 mph range.
      Check out Isaac and Helene also, further to the south and east.

  6. An honest question? Do giant oceanic whirlpools ever occur in line with these tightly spinning, fast moving, air masses? It seems as though this beast could drill straight into the water.

    • Hurricanes push push out tremendous wave swells that run out far ahead of the storm. Once it makes landfall the winds do push the water inland. That’s storm surge.

      • So the energy imparted to the ocean is diffuse-enough and/or concentrated at the extreme outside of the spiral to PUSH the water into giant waves?

    • No – the mass of water is too much for a hurricane to displace and form that large of a whirlpool. Of course the winds and barometric pressure difference will cause significant destructive storm surges along the coast where the hurricane lands.

    • Actually just the opposite happens due to the extreme low pressure in the eye. The ocean level actually bulges upwards in eye due to this low pressure.

    • A whirlpool is basically a riptide. There were many off them offshore after the Honshu quake in 2011. Fishing boats pulled out to sea were stuck in them.

      They are caused by cross currents running into water retreating from a shoreline through a narrow channel in a low-level subsurface dune. Swimmers frequently get caught in them because they aren’t usually visible. Lake Michigan beaches from the state line south to Chicago have had riptide warnings out all summer because beach sand was pulled offshore by winter tides. (Yes, the Great Lakes do have tides.)

  7. Will this storm and the following storms remove enough energy from the Gulf Stream to have an effect on UK weather this winter?

    • Probably not. The amount of thermal energy the Gulf Stream carries dwarfs what any tropical cyclone extracts. There are ‘cool wakes’ after a hurricane passes over an area but it mixes out within weeks.

      • cool wakes A “cool” phrase.

        If I understood correctly, Bob Tisdale intends to post about the ‘cool wake’ of Florence.
        These cooler sea surface temperatures should be showing up — soon.

    • No it unlikely to have any effect.
      lts better to look out for an early snow extent into NW Russia as that will supply the cold air to move into europe should there be any blocking over northern europe during the winter.

  8. The military is following evac procedures to get planes on bases located on the East Coast to safety. USNavy ships were given sortie orders on late Sunday, and as this article indicates, every place, including Parris Island, is packing to go.

    The article says that Florence is rated Category 4 now and may become Category 5 very soon.

    I got to NAS Pensacola for Photo School (no longer there) just ahead of a hurricane. Don’t remember which one, but it flooded the base up to my knees. That was really fun, walking through that slop. That, and wondering if I should have chosen a different school, like one that was at NS Great Lakes might have been a better idea.

    • What you really want is one that has you summering up in the Great Lakes (the Marine son was just up in Michigan for his annual training, and loved it), then wintering on the Gulf. Don’t know what MOS that would be, though…

      • Writing Observer, replying to Sara

        I did that: Graduated, went to EB shipyard and SubBase in CT for the New England summer for construction and then sub school,
        finished CT in August – went to Orlando FL for nuclear power school,
        finished Orlando in March,
        transferred to Idaho Falls, ID (just west of Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP’s) on Apr 15 (before Orlando got hot, after ID warmed up) for prototype training up there through the cool summer and left before the snows started in November when our first born was old enough to travel.
        Just in time to spend Christmas ion TX!

    • It would be cool for weather science if Florence would just hold up for a couple of days and Disturbance # 1 in the southern gulf would spin up to size and then they charged head on and clashed over Orlando! It would be unprecedented in the age of utube and the video world! 😉

  9. An absolutely stunning “picture of the day” by Brian Christiansen at Wrightsville Beach, NC.

    It’s on the right side of the WUWT page, click to enlarge. Nature in all it’s awe and beauty!

    • Lucky the 1780 hurricane (>20,000 dead, >220 mph winds) was right in the midddle of the Little Ice Age then, because otherwise nobody in the West Indies would have survived.

        • They didn’t. The estimates are based on the damage caused by the hurricane, e. g. it did not only blow down trees, but stripped the bark off the stumps and it completely demolished stone-and-mortar fortifications. Comparisons with the effects of tornados with known winds suggests that the winds must have topped 100 m/s.

          I remember reading a study that suggested that if a similar hurricane were to follow the same path today the number of fatalities would probably reach seven figures.

    • “whatever made it warmer,
      made the storm worse than it would have been

      Maybe, maybe not. We’ve had worse storms in colder regimes.

  10. BBC News channel has just had one of you Virginian Colonials “climate” experts droning on about how terrible everything is going to be & it’s all man’s fault (note: Not woman’s fault!)

    PS Great video BTW!

  11. Is there any web page where one can still see statistics of Accumulated Cyclone Energy updated? Weatherbell does not seem to provide this anymore.

  12. looked at nullschool earlier
    one of the 3 seems to be fizzling out
    the cyclone near phillipines is nastier than this one wind speed wise acc to that page also
    not a peep about their upcoming disaster

    • As of now, Isaac is continuing to fade out, but you can see another one starting to form just off the coast of Gambia. And there’s another cyclone developing WSW of the Azores at about 35°N, 42°W, but that’s not in the tropics A busy time in the Atlantic.

      Typhoon Mangkhut (that’s the one off the Philippines) is now “Super Typhoon Mangkhut” and not looking good for a lot of people. Most of the Pearl River delta is only a couple of metres above sea level.

  13. The Washington Post is starting to attack even before Florence makes landfall, stating the president is complicit with the catastrophe. The article quotes Trenbreth – who I believe blamed Harvey’s historic flooding on climate change, even though others disagreed that it was an unusual perfect storm of one weather system blocking Harvey so that it parked over water to refuel.

  14. Absolutely horrifying….had Hurricane Irene pass directly over us spider-webbed to the Earth in a turning basin of a small marina in NC, and she was a small one. Florence is going to be BAD.

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