NASA Sees Tropical Storm Chantal Enter The Eastern Caribbean Sea
NASA’s TRMM and Terra satellites provided a look at Tropical Storm Chantal’s cloud cover and rainfall as it entered the eastern Caribbean Sea.
Since forming on the night (EDT) of July 7, 2013 in the tropical central Atlantic, Tropical Storm Chantal has continued to race westward at up to 29 mph (~46 kph)and entered the eastern Caribbean on July 9 with sustained winds reported at 65 mph (100 kph) by the National Hurricane Center.
NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite captured an image of Chantal on July 9 at 02:37 UTC (10:37 p.m. EDT, July 8) as Chantal was approaching the Lesser Antilles. The image showed the horizontal distribution of rain intensity within Chantal.
The image was created at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. using data from different TRMM instruments. Rain rates in the center of the swath were from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), and those in the outer swath were from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The rain rates were then overlaid on infrared (IR) data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS). TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.
TRMM revealed that Chantal is a rather small storm with a modest amount of rain located mostly south and east of the center as shown by the blue and green areas indicating light to moderate rain, respectively, below and to the right of the storm symbol. TRMM, however, does show some evidence of banding (curvature) in the surrounding rain bands, an indicator of the storm’s circulation.
On July 10 at 17:40 UTC (1:40 p.m. EDT) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured a stunning visible image of Tropical Storm Chantal over the Lesser Antilles that clearly showed most of the clouds and showers were east of the center of circulation.
Chantal is Unusual
Chantal is unusual in two regards. It is the first tropical storm to form this early in the season so far out into the Atlantic since Hurricane Bertha back in 2008, which holds the record for being the eastern-most July storm. And second, storms that move as fast as Chantal typically have a difficult time intensifying or maintaining their strength, but Chantal has managed so far to intensify into a strong tropical storm.
Chantal’s Latest Location
On Wednesday, July 10 at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Chantal was just 145 miles (235 km) south of Port Au Prince, Haiti, near latitude 16.5 north and longitude 72.0 west. Chantal is moving toward the west near 29 mph (46 kph). The National Hurricane Center (NHC) expects Chantal will turn west-northwest and then northwest and slow over the next two days. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 kph) and these strongest winds are north and east of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1011 millibars
Watches and Warnings
The National Hurricane Center issued the following watches and warnings for Chantal as of July 10. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the entire coast of the Dominican Republic, the entire coast of Haiti, Turks and Caicos, and the southeastern Bahamas. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the central Bahamas and Jamaica.
Over the next several days, Chantal is expected to weaken and continue moving quickly and turn towards the northwest and move between Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, cross over central Cuba and track along Florida’s east coast. Chantal is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression and may even degenerate into a tropical wave during the next 24 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.