NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite provided forecasters with a visible image of Tropical Storm Paulette as it passed through the central North Atlantic Ocean on September 8. Paulette, like other tropical storms this year, broke a season record.
Tropical Depression 17 developed on Sunday, September 6 at 11 p.m. EDT about 1160 miles (1,865 km) west of the Cabo Verde Islands. Twelve hours later, on September 7 at 11 a.m. EDT, it had strengthened and organized into a Tropical Storm and was renamed Tropical Storm Paulette.
Paulette who breaks all records
Paulette’s development set another hurricane season record. Paulette is the 16th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. It is also the 16th earliest named storm of any 10-day Atlantic season. The previous record was Philippe, formed on September 17, 2005.
Paulette satellite views
On September 8, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on board the Suomi nuclear power plant provided a visible image of Paulette as she passed over us. Forecasters looking at the VIIRS footage noted that Paulette’s organization had improved noticeably since last night. The tropical storm is still sheared (vertical wind shear pushes against the northeast storm), with its flow limited to the southwest.
The National Hurricane Center noted, “AMSU images overnight indicated that convection was starting to wrap around the western portion of its circulation. The Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) is a multi-channel microwave radiometer installed on meteorological satellites. The instrument examines several bands of microwave radiation from the atmosphere to conduct an atmospheric survey of temperature and humidity levels. This instrument flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite and NOAA weather satellites.
On September 8 at 12:05 a.m. EDT (0405 UTC), NASA’s Aqua satellite analyzed Paulette using the atmospheric infrared sounder or the AIRS instrument. AIRS found the coldest cloud top temperatures as cold or below minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius). NASA research has shown that such cold cloud top temperatures indicate strong storms that have the ability to create heavy rain.
At 11 a.m. EDT (3 p.m. UTC) on September 8, the center of Tropical Storm Paulette was located near 18.4 degrees north latitude and 43.3 degrees west longitude. Paulette is heading northwest at nearly 9 km / h. The estimated minimum central pressure is 995 millibars. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (100 km / h) with higher gusts.
A west-northwest or west turn with a slight increase in forward speed is expected over the next few days. Moderate further strengthening is possible today and Paulette could be close to hurricane strength by tonight, September 8.
NASA studies tropical cyclones
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By Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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