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Hurricane Season 2009: Carlos and Dolores

Hurricane Carlos Stronger then Weaker

By Rob Gutro, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's Aqua satellite captured in image of Hurricane Carlos' clouds during the early morning on July 15 as it weakened back to a Category One Hurricane. Credit: NASA/NRL

NASA's Aqua satellite captured in image of Hurricane Carlos' clouds during the early morning on July 15 as it weakened back to a Category One Hurricane. Credit: NASA/NRL

Carlos is still on a westward track in the open waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, but after a burst of strength overnight, has begun to weaken. That’s a sign of what’s to come.

Late Tuesday night, July 14 at 11 p.m. EDT, Carlos strengthened. His maximum sustained winds reached 105 mph, and stayed there until today at 11 a.m. EDT when they settled at 85 mph. For 12 hours, Carlos was a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, and is again a Category One hurricane.

At 11 a.m. EDT July 15, Carlos was now 1,560 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California near 10.3 north latitude and 129.5 west longitude. He was moving west near 6 mph and is expected to speed up in the next couple of days. Estimated minimum central pressure was 978 millibars.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an image of Hurricane Carlos 6:57 a.m. EDT on July 15 using infrared imagery (because it was still night-time in the eastern Pacific). Infrared imagery reads heat, and picks up the clouds in the storm.

Introducing Dolores!

By Rob Gutro, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's Aqua satellite captured Tropical Depression 5E's cold clouds as it strengthened into Dolores. The coldest clouds in this infrared image appear in purple. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

NASA's Aqua satellite captured Tropical Depression 5E's cold clouds as it strengthened into Dolores. The coldest clouds in this infrared image appear in purple. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

It didn’t take long for a tropical low pressure area to bloom into tropical depression 5E then further strengthen into the eastern Pacific Ocean’s latest Tropical Storm: Dolores.

Dolores was officially named at 11 a.m. EDT today, July 15 when her maximum sustained winds reached 40 mph, and she’s expected to get stronger. She is located near 15.0 north and 115.6 west or about 660 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. She’s tracking northwesterly at 13 mph. Minimum central pressure is estimated near 1005 millibars.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Dolores when she was just Tropical Depression 5E on July 15 at 5:11 a.m. EDT, and just before she was named as a tropical storm. The image shows a rounded storm coming together.

The AIRS infrared imagery are false-colored to show the heights of thunderstorms in the storm. The coldest clouds have the lowest temperatures and are false-colored in purple. Those temperatures are as cold as or colder than 220 degrees Kelvin or minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (F). The blue areas are around 240 degrees Kelvin, or minus 27F.

Warm ocean temperatures and low wind shear (winds that can tear a storm apart) will assist Dolores in strengthening over the next 24 hours.

Images courtesy of NOAA-NASA GOES Project

Images courtesy of NOAA-NASA GOES Project

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