Hurricane Emilia reached peak intensity yesterday, July 10, when its maximum sustained winds hit 140 mph (220 kmh). Today, July 11, Emilia has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane. NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Emilia during its weakening phase.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies onboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Hurricane Emilia on July 10, 2012 at 2035 UTC / 4:35 p.m. EDT when its winds had weakened down to 125 mph (205 kmh). Emilia continued weakening after Aqua passed by.
On July 11 at 5 a.m. EDT, Emilia's maximum sustained winds were near 105 mph (165 kmh) and is now a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Emilia is over 210 miles (330 km) in diameter, which is the extent of its tropical-storm-force winds. On July 11 the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) data from NASA's Aqua satellite showed that cloud top temperatures around Emilia's eye were still as cold as -94 Fahrenheit (-70 Celsius) indicating the eye is still surrounded by powerful thunderstorms.
Emilia was located about 720 miles (1160 km) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. Emilia is moving at 10 mph (17 kmh) to the west-northwest. Emilia is expected to continue moving in the same direction because it is skirting the southern edge of a subtropical ridge (elongated area) of high pressure (which rotates clockwise), located to its north.
The National Hurricane Center expects Emilia to continue on a weakening trend as it moves over cooler waters and runs into drier and more stable air as wind shear increases.
Explore further: NASA radar system surveys Napa Valley quake area