NASA satellite sees Olaf stretch out and fizzle over northwestern mainland Mexico

Oct 05, 2009
The Aqua satellite flew over Olaf on Oct. 3 at 5:05 a.m. EDT captured infrared imagery of his clouds streaming into northwestern Mexico. The images showed some high, cold, thunderstorm cloud tops (purple) as cold as -63F near Olaf's center indicating some moderate rainfall. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

Tropical Storm Olaf wasn't given much of a chance when he was born, and he never did make it to hurricane strength before fizzling out late Saturday night. NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared imagery that clearly showed Olaf's clouds stretched eastward out over mainland Mexico, away from its center of circulation near Baja California.

At 11 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 3, the National Center issued its last advisory on Olaf. By that time, he was just classified as a remnant low pressure area.

Olaf was basically reduced to a tight swirl of low clouds approaching the west coast of southern Baja California. When precipitation and clouds separate from the center of the circulation and that's a tell-tale sign of a storm's demise. That's what happened with Olaf late Saturday. Olaf's clouds and rains moved northeast of his center and were located over mainland Mexico. Northwestern Mexico received Olaf's rains and gusty winds as he faded away.

NASA's Quick Scatterometer satellite (QuikScat) passed over Olaf when he was a on Olaf captured Oct 2, at 01:42 UTC (9:42 p.m. ET on October 1) and confirmed tropical storm force winds. QuikScat uses microwaves to peer into a storm's clouds and determine the speed of the rotating winds at the surface. At that time, maximum sustained winds were 45 mph, but adverse environmental conditions such as upper level winds and cooler sea surface temperatures weakened Olaf quickly afterward.

NASA's Aqua satellite got a great image of Olaf's clouds stretching away from his center of circulation on October 3. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument that is used to measure cloud top temperature and among other environmental factors clearly showed Olaf's center west of Baja California, but his stretching over the Baja and into northwestern mainland . Those cloud top temperatures were around -63F indicating that there were still some strong thunderstorms in the storm as it was breaking apart, so Olaf was leaving behind some moderate rainfall and gusty winds as he began to dissipate. As of Monday, October 5, Olaf has dissipated.

Source: JPL/NASA (news : web)

Explore further: Suomi NPP satellite spots birth of Tropical Cyclone Kate

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA's satellite imagery sees Hilda hit a wall

Aug 27, 2009

Two days ago, Hilda was in prime shape to strengthen further as she tracked westward, far south of the Hawaiian Islands. Today, as a result of winds and cooler waters, she's weakened to a tropical depression, ...

Recommended for you

Suomi NPP satellite spots birth of Tropical Cyclone Kate

11 hours ago

The tropical low pressure area previously known as System 95S organized and strengthened into Tropical Cyclone Kate on Dec. 24 and the Cocos Keeling Islands are expected to feel its effects on Dec. 25 and ...

NASA looks at some severe holiday weather from space

11 hours ago

Severe weather in the form of tornadoes is not something people expect on Christmas week but a storm system on Dec. 23 brought tornadoes to Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana. As the storm moved, NASA's RapidScat ...

NASA satellite spots Christmas

17 hours ago

If you're looking for Christmas NASA's Aqua satellite spotted it in the Southern Indian Ocean. It's a coral atoll (a ring-shaped reef, island, or chain of islands made up of coral) in the northern Line Islands ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.