NASA catches birth of Tropical Storm Chris by the tail

June 21, 2012
This visible image of Tropical Storm Chris spinning in the North Atlantic Ocean was captured at 17:05 UTC (1:05 pm EDT) on June 19, just hours before it was officially designated as a tropical storm. The image was created from the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. Credit: Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Several hundred miles from Newfoundland, the third tropical storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season was born on June 19, and NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image just before it reached tropical storm strength, and he appears to have a "tail" on satellite imagery.

Chris became the Atlantic Season's third tropical cyclone at 5 p.m. EDT on June 19. Hours before the official designation, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Chris at 17:05 UTC (1:05 p.m. EDT). The image showed a tight center of rounded clouds around Chris' center of circulation. Coming out of that center is a "tail" which gives Chris a comma shape. That tail is a band of thunderstorms wrapping around the northern and eastern portions of the storm's center.

At 5 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time, Chris had of 45 mph (75 kph) and was moving to the east near 17 mph (28 kph). Chris was about 590 miles (945 km) south of Cape Race, Newfoundland, Canada near 38.2 North and 53.5 West. The National Hurricane Center expects Chris to speed up and turn northeast, then north over the next day. Little change in strength is expected during the next 48 hours.

Chris is expected to remain at sea and not be a threat to any land areas, while weakening and becoming post-tropical over the next couple of days.

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