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NASA Imagery Reveals Weaker, Stretched Out Fiona

September 3, 2010

NASA satellite data has noticed that Tropical Storm Fiona is getting “longer.” That is, the storm is elongating in almost a north-south direction, indicating that she’s weakening and may not make it through the weekend. Meanwhile, forecasters are watching two other areas for development in the eastern Atlantic this weekend.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-13 captured an image of Fiona on Friday, Sept. 3 at 10:32 a.m. EDT and the visible image showed a weak circulation in Fiona’s center. It also appeared that Fiona’s clouds were “stretched” from north (where the circulation center is located) to far south of the circulation. GOES-13 is operated by NOAA, who also flew in hurricane hunter aircraft this morning and confirmed weaker sustained winds near 45 mph. The GOES-13 image was created by NASA’s GOES Project out of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Satellite data also showed that convection (rapidly rising air that forms the thunderstorms that power Fiona) was diminished near her center of circulation. Increased wind shear is battering and weakening Fiona as she makes her way north-northeast.

On Friday, September 3, a tropical storm warning was in effect for Bermuda. The island can expect tropical-storm-force winds during the evening hours and Saturday morning, September 3. Fiona will bring about 1 to 3 inches of rainfall to Bermuda as it continues on its northeasterly track.

At 11 a.m. EDT the center of Tropical Storm Fiona was located near latitude 29.0 north and longitude 66.4 west about 245 miles south-southwest of Bermuda. Fiona is moving toward the north-northeast near 13 mph and she’s expected to speed up on Sunday and continue weakening. Fiona could become a tropical depression on Sept. 4 and could dissipate over the holiday weekend in the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

As Fiona fades, forecasters are eyeing two other areas for possible development of tropical cyclones in the eastern Atlantic. One area is the remnants of Tropical Depression Gaston, which is about 1150 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands. The second area is farther east between the Cape Verde Islands and African west coast. Gaston’s remnants have a higher chance of redeveloping than the second area.

Image Caption: This image from the GOES-13 satellite at 10:32 a.m. EDT on Sept. 3 shows a huge Hurricane Earl northeast of North Carolina with cloud cover stretching over the northeastern US. A disorganized Fiona is located in the bottom right side of this image. Credit: NOAA/NASA Goes Project

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