Doppler radar quick-looks from 2:00 AM P-3 flight into Tropical Storm Erika, 26 August 2015

As Tropical Storm Erika was 600 km east of the Leeward Islands a NOAA P-3 mission collected airborne Doppler radar data to use in initializing and evaluating model guidance and a Saharan Air Layer Experiment (SALEX) mission.

The figure below depicts the aircraft flight track (P-3: yellow line) superposed on the real-time lower fuselage radar and infrared satellite imagery.

Screen Shot 2015-08-26I1Included here you see images of the horizontal winds within 180 km of Erika sampled from the tail Doppler radar on the P-3 aircraft during the early morning of 26 August 2015. These images are at three altitudes (1 km, 3 km, and 6 km) and are a composite of winds from the P-3 Doppler patterns around Erika. Also plotted on each analysis are the locations of dropsondes deployed by the P-3 (plotted using standard station symbols). These analyses show that Erika maintained a very asymmetric distribution of precipitation at all altitudes, with the bulk of the precipitation primarily in the southeastern quadrant of the storm, particularly at 3- and 6- km altitude. There is indication of a circulation center at 1-km altitudes, with the strongest winds 40-50 km northeast of the circulation center, but with strong winds extending to 180 km to the north and east of the center. At 3-km altitude the wind field appeared like a sharp trough oriented southwest-northeast with the strongest winds extending to the north or the 1-km altitude circulation center. At 6-km altitude there was an indication of a circulation center in the heavy precipitation 125-150 km southeast of the 1-km altitude circulation center, indicative of very strong west-northwesterly shear of the horizontal wind over the low-level center.

All the Tropical Storm Erika radar composites at 0.5-km height resolution are available at: