Fiona becomes a Hurricane near Puerto Rico

September 18th, 2022 |

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (above) showed Fiona as it intensified to a Category 1 Hurricane just south of Puerto Rico during the morning hours on 18 September 2022. The coldest cloud-top 10.35 µm infrared brightness temperatures were around -88ºC.

The corresponding 1-minute GOES-16 Cloud Top Temperature and Cloud Top Height derived products are shown below — the coldest Cloud Top Temperature values were around -91ºC, while maximum Cloud Top Height values were around 61,000 feet.

GOES-16 Cloud Top Temperature and Cloud Top Height derived products [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

The highest wind gust at Buoy 42085 — located just south of Ponce (station identifier TJPS) — was 72 knots (83 mph) at 16 UTC (below).

Plots of wind speed(blue), gusts (red) and pressure (green) at Buoy 42085 [click to view]

Although Fiona was moving across relatively warm water, GOES-16 Infrared Window (11.2 µm) images with contours of deep-layer wind shear from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) indicated that the storm was moving through an environment of moderate shear.

GOES-16 Infrared Window (11.2 µm) images, with contours of deep-layer wind shear valid at 1700 UTC [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Fiona later made landfall in far southwestern Puerto Rico around 1920 UTC — a DMSP-18 image at 2013 UTC (below) showed the eye as it was beginning to move into the Mona Passage.

DMSP-18 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image at 2013 UTC [click to enlarge]

A prolonged period of strong winds and heavy rainfall from Fiona led to widespread power outages and flash flooding across much of Puerto Rico.