Hurricane Ophelia

October 14th, 2017 |

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm, right) images, with hourly surface reports (in metric units) plotted in yellow [click to animate]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm, right) images, with hourly surface reports (in metric units) plotted in yellow [click to animate]

Hurricane Ophelia — the record-tying 10th consecutive Atlantic basin hurricane of the 2017 season — reached a satellite-estimated Category 3 intensity at 15 UTC on 14 October 2017. GOES-13 (GOES-East) Visible (0.63 µm) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (above) showed a well-defined circular eye as the storm moved well south of the Azores. The tweet below underscores the unusual nature of the intensity and location of Ophelia (which also occurred over unusually-cold waters).

A DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image (below) also revealed a circular eye structure.

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image [click to enlarge]

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image [click to enlarge]

One factor that might have aided this increase of intensity was the recent passage of Ophelia through an environment of higher Maximum Potential Intensity (reference), where maximum wind speed values of 100 knots resided (below).

Maximum Potential Instability wind speed plot from 13 October, with the track of Ophelia as of 18 UTC on 14 October [click to enlarge]

Maximum Potential Instability wind speed plot from 13 October, with the track of Ophelia as of 18 UTC on 14 October [click to enlarge]

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