Doppler radar quick-looks from 11:00 AM P-3 flight into Hurricane Patricia, 22 October 2015

As Hurricane Patricia intensified rapidly 400 km south of Manzanillo, Mexico a NOAA P-3 mission collected airborne Doppler radar data to use in initializing and evaluating model guidance and a Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) high-incidence angle module 75-80 km to the northwest of the storm center to compare with the HIRAD measurements from the WB-57. This P-3 mission coincided with a WB-57 TCI mission into Patricia.

The figure below depicts the aircraft flight track (P-3: red line; WB-57: blue line) superposed on visible satellite imagery.

P-3 and WB-57 flight tracks

P-3 and WB-57 flight tracks

The figure below depicts the P-3 flight track superposed on lower fuselage radar and visible satellite imagery.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 12.10.25 PMIncluded here you see images of the horizontal winds within 180 km of Patricia sampled from the tail Doppler radar on the P-3 during the afternoon of 22 October 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 Patricia. Also plotted on each analysis are the locations of dropsondes deployed by the P-3 (plotted using standard station symbols). These analyses show that Patricia had a relatively symmetric distribution of precipitation at all altitudes. There is indication that Patricia was much better organized and stronger than the day before, with the strongest winds 15-20 km north of the circulation center at 1-km altitude, and 15-20 km northeast and east of the center  at 3- and 6-km altitude, respectively. The circulation center was nearly vertical from 1- to 6-km altitude. The upwind rotation of the wind maximum with increasing altitude suggest a slight southeasterly vertical shear of the horizontal wind over the storm.

All the Hurricane Patricia radar composites at 0.5-km height resolution are available at:

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