NASA’s Aqua Satellite Finds Hurricane Nate’s Strongest Side

By  //  October 7, 2017

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(NASA) – Infrared light provides valuable temperature data to forecasters and cloud top temperatures give clues about highest, coldest, strongest storms within a hurricane. NASA’s Aqua satellite provided that data and showed strongest storms were in Hurricane Nate’s eastern side.

On Oct. 7 at 2:40 a.m. EDT (0740 UTC) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite analyzed Nate’s cloud top temperatures in infrared light. MODIS found cloud top temperatures of strong thunderstorms in Nates eastern quadrant and in fragmented bands to the east and southeast of center. Temperatures in those areas were as cold as or colder than minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 Celsius). Some of those strong fragmented bands of thunderstorms were over western Cuba. Cloud top temperatures that cold indicate strong storms that have the capability to create heavy rain.

At 5 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center report correlated winds with the strongest storms from the Aqua findings as the Discussion noted “an Air Force reconnaissance plane investigated Nate a couple of hours ago and measured peak flight-level winds of 89 knots at 850 millibars to the east of the center. No hurricane force winds were reported west of the center.”

A NOAA GOES East satellite infrared image taken at 6:15 a.m. EDT (1015 UTC) of Hurricane Nate showed the storm moving rapidly through the central Gulf of Mexico on Oct. 7 at 6:15 a.m. EDT (1015 UTC).

Watches and Warnings

The governments of Cuba and Mexico have discontinued all watches and warnings.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) posted a Hurricane Warning from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border and for metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line, Florida and the northern and western shores of Lake Pontchartrain.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Lake Maurepas, west of Grand Isle to Morgan City, Louisiana and east of the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Lake Maurepas, east of the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line and west of Grand Isle to Morgan City, Louisiana.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for east of the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass, Florida. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for east of the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass, Florida and west of Morgan City to Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

On Oct. 7 at 2:40 a.m. EDT (0740 UTC) the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite analyzed Nate’s cloud top temperatures in infrared light and found strongest storms (yellow) in the eastern quadrant and in bands of thunderstorms east and southeast of center over Cuba. (NASA Image)

At 4 a.m. CDT/5 a.m. EDT on Saturday, October 7, 2017, the center of Hurricane Nate was located near 24.5 degrees north latitude and 87.0 degrees west longitude. That’s about 345 miles (550 km) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Nate is moving toward the north-northwest near 22 mph (35 kph), and this general fast motion is expected to continue through tonight. NHC said a turn toward the north is forecast on Sunday morning, followed by a turn toward the north-northeast thereafter.

Maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph (130 kph) with higher gusts.  Some strengthening is possible before Nate makes landfall along the northern Gulf coast. Another reconnaissance plane will investigate Nate soon.

Hurricane Nate Expected To Become Cat. 2 By Landfall, Set To Impact SE LA., Alabama/Florida Border TonightRelated Story:
Hurricane Nate Expected To Become Cat. 2 By Landfall, Set To Impact SE LA., Alabama/Florida Border Tonight

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 987 millibars.

On the forecast track, the NHC said the center of Nate will move across the Gulf of Mexico today and will make landfall along the central U.S. Gulf coast tonight, Oct. 7.

For forecast updates and local effects of storm surge, winds, rainfall, flooding and tornado information visit the NHC webpage: www.nhc.noaa.gov.

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