Friday, May 30, 2014

NASA 'bisects' Tropical Storm Amanda

Stephanie Pappas in Yahoo News via Live Science: NASA has sliced and diced the first named storm of the 2014 hurricane season, capturing a bisected view of Hurricane Amanda at its strongest. Amanda — now a tropical depression — formed over Memorial Day weekend and reached Category 4 hurricane strength, with winds reaching 155 mph (250 km/h).

Those wind speeds made the storm the strongest May hurricane ever seen. Fortunately, Amanda remained far out to sea in the eastern Pacific and never threatened land. After turning north over cooler waters this week, the storm weakened, its winds receding to tropical-storm level. As of today (May 29), Amanda is a mere tropical depression, with max
imum sustained winds of only about 35 mph (56 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center.

NASA's CloudSat satellite caught a detailed glimpse of the storm when it was still a hurricane. On May 25, the storm's winds were blowing at around 150 mph (240 km/h) when the satellite passed over about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of the storm. [Hurricanes from Above: See Nature's Biggest Storms]

CloudSat uses ultrasensitive radar to measure clouds and their moisture. In Amanda's eastern half, the satellite detected moderate and heavy-moderate precipitation deep in the storm, below the altitude at which precipitation turns from solid into liquid. The profile of the storm revealed an expansive, anvil-shaped cloud extending northward, as well as smaller cumulus clouds underneath, NASA reported today (May 29)....

NASA image of Amanda on May 23, 2014

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