AOML scientists supported a mission into Hurricane Eta as it developed in the Caribbean on Sunday, November 1. The P-3 flight, tasked by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and operated out of Lakeland, FL, captured Eta as it began rapid intensification from a tropical storm into a hurricane. NOAA has sampled 8 of the 9 rapidly intensifying Atlantic tropical cyclones including Hanna, Laura, Sally, Teddy, Delta, Gamma, Zeta, and Eta, leaving out only Epsilon.
Hurricane scientist John Gamache processed data from the tail Doppler radar (TDR) collected during Sunday’s flight. In reviewing the analyses he noted the vortex aligned at the low and mid-levels. This structural development is an indication of a strengthening storm. Twelve hours later, NHC upgraded Eta from a tropical storm to a category-1 hurricane.
This is the first Atlantic hurricane season the Greek letter Eta has been used to name a storm. The previous record was held in the 2005, with Tropical Storm Zeta forming on December 30, 2005, and lasting through January 6, 2006.
A mission was scheduled for Monday, November 2 but was cancelled due to maintenance issues. NHC forecasts Eta to hit Central America on Tuesday, November 3 with no future NOAA missions planned prior to landfall.
>> Scientist L. Bucci
>> Edits by R. Kravetz and K. Ryan
For details about reconnaissance aircraft missions, please see NOAA’s official Plan of the Day.
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