NOAA samples the 9th rapidly intensifying storm of the Atlantic hurricane season

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.

GOES-16 imagery from the longwave infrared band (12.3)

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. 

TDR composite analyses of wind speed (kt) at 0.5 and 1.5 km altitudes from the Monday, November 1 mission.

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.  

GOES-16 Geocolor rapid scan loop

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.

For the latest information about tropical cyclones and other weather systems, please visit the NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center.

For information on numerical prediction of tropical cyclones, please visit NOAA/NCEP/Environmental Modeling Center.

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