As Cristobal reached hurricane strength and continued it slow northward motion east of the Bahamas a NOAA P-3 collected airborne Doppler radar data to use in initializing and evaluating model guidance. Included here you see images of the horizontal winds within 300 km of Cristobal sampled from the tail Doppler radar on the P-3 aircraft during the early morning of 26 August 2014. These images are at three altitudes (1 km, 3 km, and 6 km) and are a composite of winds from the P-3 Doppler pattern around Cristobal. Also plotted on each analysis are the locations of dropsondes deployed by the P-3 (plotted using standard station symbols). These analyses show that even though Cristobal had hurricane force winds, it still had a very asymmetric distribution of precipitation at all altitudes, with the bulk of the precipitation surrounding the center at 1-km altitude and extending primarily in the eastern semi-circle of the storm. A vertical cross-section of the radar reflectivity from the east to west leg across the center showed that the radar echo tops on the east side of the center were as high as 17.5-km altitude. There is indication of a circulation center at 1- and 3-km altitudes, with stronger winds 45-50 km east of the circulation center at 1-km altitude, and with a suggestion of a secondary wind maximum at 150-175 km to the east-southeast of the center at all altitudes. From 1-3 km altitude the circulation center is tilted 5-10 km toward the east-southeast indicative of weaker westerly shear of the horizontal wind since the last mission.
All the Cristobal radar composites at 0.5-km height resolution are available at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Storm_pages/cristobal2014/radar.html