The GOES-13 satellite that monitors weather over the eastern U.S. recorded a movie of the birth and strengthening of the Atlantic Ocean season's second tropical storm. Tropical Storm Bret was born in the northwestern Bahamas and continues to strengthen.
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite called GOES-13 provides continuous visible and infrared imagery of the eastern U.S. and Atlantic Ocean basin from its position in space. GOES satellites are operated by NOAA, and the NASA GOES Project located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates images and compiled them into the video of the storm as it developed on July 17 and developed in the early morning hours of July 18th into a tropical storm.
The animation includes sped up infrared and visible frames of data from the GOES-13 satellite and is squeezed down to 27 seconds. The movie shows satellite imagery that was captured in 15 minute intervals from July 16 at 1131 UTC (7:31 a.m. EDT) until July 18 at 1131 UTC (7:31 a.m. EDT).
Tropical Depression 2 formed at 5 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 17. At that time it had maximum sustained winds near 35 mph and was just 100 miles northwest of Great Abaco Island, near 27.5 N and 78.2 W. The Abaco Islands are located in the northern Bahamas and are made up of the main islands of Great Abaco and Little Abaco with many smaller islands called "cays."
On July 18 at 8 a.m. EDT, Tropical Depression 2 strengthened into Tropical Storm Bret. Maximum sustained winds were up to 50 mph. At that time, Bret was just 65 miles north-northwest of Great Abaco Island (and about 200 miles off the eastern Florida coast) near 27.4N 77.5W, trudging along at 3 mph to the northeast. Minimum central pressure is 1001 millibars.
The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning for Grand Bahama Island and the Abaco Islands in the northwest Bahamas. As a result, the northwestern Bahamas are 'under the gun' for the greatest impacts from Bret. Rainfall could reach between 2 and 4 inches, while winds can reach tropical storm-force today. Those winds should diminish tonight as Bret pulls away. Beach goers will have stay away from the ocean as locally high surf conditions are expected along northern and western facing beaches today.
Explore further: Lava creeps toward road on Hawaii's Big Island