A NASA satellite double-take at Hurricane Lowell

August 21, 2014, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Lowell on Aug. 20 at 4:05 p.m. EDT it saw very cold, powerful thunderstorms (purple) surrounding its center. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

Lowell is now a large hurricane in the Eastern Pacific and NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites double-teamed it to provide infrared and radar data to scientists. Lowell strengthened into a hurricane during the morning hours of August 21.

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Lowell on August 20 at 21:05 UTC (4:05 p.m. EDT), the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder got an infrared look at Lowell's cloud top temperatures when it was still a tropical storm. AIRS showed a very thick band of thunderstorms surrounding the center of circulation and what appeared to be a very small cloud-free center of circulation, like the formation of an eye. Cloud top temperatures exceeded -63F/-52C, the threshold for high, cold thunderstorms with the potential for dropping .

The TRMM or Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite passed over Lowell on August 21 at 01:14 UTC and captured rainfall rates and cloud height data. TRMM showed that moderate rainfall circled the center of the storm, with rain rates to about 30 mm per hour. A large band of thunderstorms extending southwest of the center also contained moderate rainfall. TRMM found that cloud tops in that band of were about 6.2 miles (10 km) high. TRMM is managed by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Lowell became the seventh of the Eastern Pacific Ocean season today, August 21 at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC). Maximum sustained winds had increased to 75 mph (120 kph) making Lowell a Category One hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Little change in intensity is forecast by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) today, and NHC forecasters expect a slow weakening trend later today through August 22.

TRMM passed over Lowell on Aug. 21 at 01:14 UTC and showed that moderate rainfall circled the center of the storm, with rain rates to about 30 mm per hour. Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce

It was centered near latitude 20.0 north and longitude 122.1 west, about 810 miles (1,300 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico. It is moving to the northwest near 3 mph (4 kph) and is expected to move faster in that direction over the next two days.

There are no coastal watches or warning in effect.

Explore further: NASA sees Depression 12-E become Tropical Storm Lowell

Related Stories

NASA sees Depression 12-E become Tropical Storm Lowell

August 19, 2014

In less than 24 hours after Tropical Depression 12-E was born in the eastern Pacific Ocean it strengthened into Tropical Storm Lowell. NOAA's GOES-West and NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared images of the massive storm ...

NASA sees Tropical Storm Lowell's tough south side

August 20, 2014

The south side of Tropical Storm Lowell appears to be its toughest side. That is, the side with the strongest thunderstorms, according to satellite imagery from NOAA's GOES-14 and NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellites.

Recommended for you

Frozen in time: Glacial archaeology on the roof of Norway

January 23, 2018

Climate change is one of the most important issues facing people today and year on year the melting of glacial ice patches in Scandinavia, the Alps and North America reveals and then destroys vital archaeological records ...

First quantifiable observation of cloud seeding

January 23, 2018

A University of Wyoming researcher contributed to a paper that demonstrated, for the first time, direct observation of cloud seeding—from the growth of the ice crystals through the processes that occur in the clouds to ...

So much depends on a tree guard

January 23, 2018

In a big city, trees, like people, like their space. In a new study, researchers at Columbia University found that street trees protected by guards that stopped passersby from trampling the surrounding soil absorbed runoff ...

0 comments

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.