NASA Sees Hurricane Irma Affecting South Florida
As Hurricane Irma approached southern Florida, a NASA satellite captured a night-time image of the storm in the Florida Straits and identified where the strongest storms were occurring within Irma's structure. NOAA's GOES satellite provided a visible image at the time of Irma's landfall in the Florida Keys.

GOES image of Irma
This visible image of Category 4 Hurricane Irma was taken on Sunday Sept.10, 2017 at 9:25 a.m. EDT (1325 UTC) by the NOAA GOES East satellite as its eye approached the southwestern coast of Florida. Hurricane Jose is seen (right) near the Leeward Islands.
Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
As Irma moved along the coast of Cuba, the storm weakened to a Category 3 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. After moving away from the northern coast of Cuba, Irma passed over waters that are warmer than 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Those warm waters enabled the storm to re-strengthen from a Category 3 hurricane to a Category 4 hurricane.

On Sept. 10, at 3:38 a.m. EDT (0738 UTC) the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured an infrared view of Irma at night as it moved north from the northern coast of Cuba toward the Florida Keys. The image revealed that Irma's eye had become clear again. The image also showed the city lights in the southeastern U.S.

Suomi NPP infrared image of Irma
In this Suomi NPP satellite infrared image from Sept. 10, the well-defined eye of Irma is visible with strong thunderstorms around the eye. Coldest cloud tops were as cold as 190.1 Kelvin (minus 83 degrees Celsius/minus 117.4 degrees Fahrenheit).Credits:
Credits: NASA/NOAA/UWM-CIMSS, William Straka
​VIIRS also showed temperatures of Irma's cloud tops to indicate where the strongest part of the hurricane is located. The coldest cloud top temperatures indicate the strongest storms. The VIIRS image showed the well-defined eye of Irma with strong thunderstorms around the eye which is indicative of an intense tropical system. Strongest thunderstorms with coldest cloud tops were as cold as 190.1 Kelvin (minus 83 degrees Celsius/minus 117.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

At 9:10 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10, Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key in lower Florida Keys.

Fifteen minutes later NOAA's GOES East satellite captured an image when Irma's eye was moving over Cudjoe Key, and toward Florida's southwestern coast. Irma had re-strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane and the GOES satellite image showed that the eye became clear again.

Warnings and Watches in Effect on Sunday, September 10
Irma
Suomi NPP image of Irma at night
On Sept. 10, at 3:38 a.m. EDT (0738 UTC) NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured this infrared night-time image of Hurricane Irma between Cuba and the Florida Keys
Credits: NOAA/NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for south Santee River southward to Jupiter Inlet, north Miami Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to the Ochlockonee River, the Florida Keys and Tampa Bay.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect from Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass, the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, Florida Bay and the Cuban provinces of Matanzas and La Habana. A Hurricane Watch is in effect from north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from west of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line and north of Fernandina Beach to South Santee River. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Bimini and Grand Bahama.

Hurricane Irma at 8 a.m. EDT on Sunday, September 10

This animation of NOAA's GOES East satellite imagery from Sept. 8 at 8:45 a.m. EDT (1245 UTC) to Sept. 10 ending at 8:55 a.m. EDT (1255 UTC) shows Category 4 Hurricane Irma move past Cuba and approach south Florida.
Credits: NASA-NOAA GOES Project
At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC) on Sept. 10 the center of Hurricane Irma was located about 20 miles (30 km) east-southeast of Key West, Florida near 24.5 degrees north latitude and 81.5 degrees west longitude.

The National Hurricane Center said "Irma is moving toward the north-northwest near 8 mph (13 kph), and an increase in forward speed is expected later today, with that motion continuing through Monday, Sept. 11.

Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph (215 kph) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 220 miles (350 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 929 millibars.
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For updates on Irma and effects of wind, storm surge and rainfall, visit the National Hurricane Center website: www.nhc.noaa.gov.

By Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Sep. 09, 2017 - NASA Sees Hurricane Irma's Eye Along Cuba's Coast
Hurricane Irma was moving up Cuba's northern coast when NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead. A satellite instrument revealed coldest temperatures of powerful thunderstorm tops surrounding Irma's eye and in a band of thunderstorms over the Florida Keys.

Aqua image of Irma
This infrared image from the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite shows extremely cold temperatures (red) in thunderstorms surrounding the eye of Hurricane Irma as it traveled along Cuba's northern coast on Sept. 9 at 3:15 a.m. EDT (0715 UTC).
Credits: NASA/NRL
Infrared MODIS data showed two areas with very cold cloud top temperatures of strong thunderstorms. They were around center of circulation and in a band of thunderstorms north of the center, where temperatures were as cold as minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 Celsius). Temperatures that cold indicate strong uplift in the storm and cloud tops high into the troposphere. NASA research has shown that storms with cloud tops that cold have the ability to generate heavy rain.

GOES image of Irma
This visible image of Category 4 Hurricane Irma was taken on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 10:37 a.m. EDT (1437 UTC) by the NOAA GOES East satellite.
Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Warnings and Watches

At 11 a.m. EDT the National Hurricane Center noted many warnings and watches in effect.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Volusia/Brevard County line southward around the Florida peninsula to the Suwanee River, the Florida Keys and Tampa Bay. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect from north of the Volusia/Brevard County line to the Isle of Palms, South Carolina, and north of the Suwanee River to Ochlockonee River.

This animation of NOAA's GOES East satellite imagery from Sept. 6 at 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 UTC) to Sept. 9 ending at 10:15 a.m. EDT (1415 UTC) shows Category 4 Hurricane Irma approaching south Florida and Category 4 Hurricane Jose approach the northern Leeward Islands. Meanwhile, Hurricane Storm Katia made landfall and dissipated in eastern Mexico. TRT: 00:36
Credits: NASA-NOAA GOES Project
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to the Aucilla River, the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, Florida Bay. A Hurricane Warning is also in effect for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, and Havana, Andros Island, Bimini and Grand Bahama. A Hurricane Watch is in effect from north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach, west of the Aucilla River to Indian Pass, Florida. A Hurricane Watch is also in effect for the Cuban provinces of Holguin and Las Tunas.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Cuban provinces of Holguin, Las Tunas, and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from north of Edisto Beach to South Santee River and west of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line.

Hurricane Irma at 11 a.m. EDT on Saturday, September 9, 2017

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located by a reconnaissance plane and radar near latitude 22.8 North, longitude 79.8 West. Irma is moving toward the west along the north coast of Cuba at near 9 mph (15 km/h). A northwest motion is expected to begin later today with a turn toward the north-northwest on Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Irma is forecast to re-strengthen once it moves away from Cuba, and Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km). The minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force plane was 941 millibars.

On the forecast track, the core of Irma will continue to move near or over the north coast of Cuba later today, and will reach the Florida Keys Sunday morning. The hurricane is expected to move along or near the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon.

For updates on Irma and effects of wind, storm surge and rainfall, visit the National Hurricane Center website: www.nhc.noaa.gov.

By Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Sep. 08, 2017 - (Update #3) ISS Pass Over Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Irma 9/8/17

The International Space Station passed over two major Atlantic hurricanes on Friday, Sept. 8. First, the station flew approximately 250 miles over Hurricane Jose at approximately 10:10 a.m. EDT while the Category 3 storm was in the Atlantic just east of the Caribbean. One orbit of the Earth later, the station flew over Hurricane Irma at approximately 11:40 a.m. EDT. The powerful Category 4 storm had already brought destructive wind and rain to islands across the Caribbean and is forecast to impact the Florida peninsula.
Credits: NASA
Raw footage download
Sep. 08, 2017 - (Update #2) NASA's Fleet of Satellites Covering Powerful Hurricane Irma
NASA's fleet of satellites have been continually providing forecasters with data on Hurricane Irma. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided a look at the wide-eye of Irma and if you think about the area of maximum sustained winds around the eye, it's similar to a wide F2 tornado.

AIRS image of Irma
NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared temperature data on Hurricane Irma on Sept. 8 at 2:29 a.m. EDT (0629 UTC). The image showed very cold cloud top temperatures colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius) in the storm, stretching over Hispaniola, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas.
Credits: NASA JPL/Ed Olsen
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared temperature data on Hurricane Irma on Sept. 8 at 2:29 a.m. EDT (0629 UTC). The image showed very cold cloud top temperatures colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius) in the storm, stretching over Hispaniola, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas. NASA research has shown that cloud tops that cold are high in the troposphere and have the potential to generate heavy rainfall.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided an infrared look at the thunderstorms throughout Irma on Sept. 9 at 2:39 a.m. EDT. The VIIRS image showed the well-defined eye of Irma with strong thunderstorms around the eye which is indicative of an intense tropical system. Strongest thunderstorms with coldest cloud tops were as cold as 195 Kelvin (minus 78.1 degrees Celsius/minus 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

Suomi NPP Image of Irma
In this Suomi NPP satellite infrared image from Sept. 9 at 2:39 a.m. EDT, the well-defined eye of Irma is visible with convection around the eye which is indicative of an intense tropical system. Strongest thunderstorms with coldest cloud tops (black) were as cold as 195 Kelvin.
Credits: NASA/NOAA/UWM-CIMSS, William Straka
NOAA's GOES East satellite captured an infrared image of Hurricane Irma in the Bahamas at 4:45 a.m. EDT that showed a clear eye and a symmetrical, powerful Category 4 hurricane. NOAA manages the GOES series of satellites and the NASA/NOAA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland produces images and animations from that data.

GOES-East image of Irma
NOAA's GOES East satellite captured this infrared image of Hurricane Irma in the Bahamas at 4:45 a.m. EDT.
Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
NASA uses a constellation of domestic and international satellites to better understand the rainfall accumulations of Irma, wind speeds, and impacts as the storm makes landfall.

Irma's Area of Maximum Sustained Winds Like a Wide Tornado

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km). Maximum sustained winds are near 150 mph (240 kph) with higher gusts.

Scott Braun, research meteorologist at NASA Goddard said that "Hurricane force winds mean greater than 64 knots and tropical storm force winds are greater than 34 knots. The actual diameter of hurricane force winds is 120 miles. However, that is just for greater than 64 knots. The area with greater than 150 mph wind will be smaller."

The area of maximum sustained winds near 150 mph fluctuate but on average have been about 25 miles out from the eye. Using that as average, if you think of the power of these rotating winds compared to a tornado, it would be would be similar to a 50-mile wide F2 tornado on the Fujita Scale (with maximum winds between 113 and 157 mph).

Warnings and Watches on Sept. 9

At 11 a.m. EDT on Sept. 9, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) had a Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Sebastian Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Venice, Florida, and the Florida Keys. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect from North of Sebastian Inlet to Ponce Inlet.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach, Florida; the Florida Keys; Lake Okeechobee; Florida Bay; the Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands; the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, and Villa Clara; the Central Bahamas and the Northwestern Bahamas.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect from north of Jupiter Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia County Line; north of Bonita Beach to Anclote River and the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Matanzas. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, and Las Tunas.

Irma's Location at 11 a.m. EDT on Sept. 8

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the NHC said the distinct eye of Hurricane Irma was located near 22.0 degrees north latitude and 75.3 degrees west longitude. That's 405 miles (655 km) southeast of Miami, Florida.

Irma was moving toward the west-northwest near 14 mph (22 kph), and this motion is expected to continue for the next day or so with a decrease in forward speed. A turn toward the northwest is expected by late Saturday, Sept. 9. Maximum sustained winds are near 150 mph (240 kph) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 hurricane as it approaches Florida.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km). The latest minimum central pressure reported by both Air Force and NOAA Hurricane Hunter planes was 927 millibars.

Key Cautions to Remember

NHC noted several key cautions to keep in mind:

  1. Irma is an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane and will continue to bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards to the Bahamas through Saturday.

  2. Irma is likely to make landfall in Florida as a dangerous major hurricane, and will bring life-threatening wind impacts to much of the state regardless of the exact track of the center.

  3. There is the danger of life-threatening storm surge inundation in southern Florida and the Florida Keys during the next 36 hours, where a Storm Surge Warning is in effect.

  4. Irma is expected to produce very heavy rain and inland flooding. Total rain accumulations of 4 to 12 inches, with isolated amounts of 20 inches are expected over the Florida peninsula Saturday through Monday.

On the NHC forecast track, the eye of Irma should move near the north coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas today and Saturday, and be near the Florida Keys and the southern Florida Peninsula Sunday morning, Sept. 10.

For updates on Irma visit: www.nhc.noaa.gov

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