Satellite Snaps Infrared Photo of Eye of Hurricane Irene, the Biggest Atlantic Storm in 2011
By on August 25th, 2011

The eye of Hurricane Irene was spotted by infrared cameras from space and it is scary. Hurricane Irene breezed past the Bahamas, with winds clocking up speeds of 115 mph.

Though, the hurricane had gone through a dip in power on the 23rd of August, it regained more than what it lost the day after. It is the first major hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season. Hurricane Irene is now a Category 3 storm, a term used for storms having winds in the range of 110 to 130 mph (175 to 210 kmph).

(Update: Irene now a major storm)

The following picture was taken by infrared instruments on board the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite or GOES-East. It is managed by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Hurricane Irene eye seen from space. It was taken by infrared detectors aboard GOES East satellite. Photo courtesy: NOAA

The redder areas are hotter than the cooler blue areas. (Infrared photos detect heat patterns and not actual visible features).

A hurricane is basically winds of high speed moving towards a central eye’ or region of low pressure. The central region is a hot’ region, with a markedly higher temperature than the surrounding areas. As a rule of thumb, hotter regions mean lower pressure. As air move from higher to lower pressure, high speed winds spiral towards the center.

The Bahamas is expected to receive 15 to 20 cm of rainfall due to Irene, with some regions expected rainfall as high as 40 cm. Storm surges are also expected. Irene is also predicted to move northward to the banks of Outer Carolina, where it will make landfall. However, by this time, it will have weakened due to cooler waters there, NOAA reported. Heavy rains are still forecast.

Irene is slightly early. Although August to October are peak months in the Atlantic hurricane season, big storms generally come in September.

(Update:  Irene now a major storm)

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Author: Debjyoti Bardhan Google Profile for Debjyoti Bardhan
Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.

Debjyoti Bardhan has written and can be contacted at debjyoti@techie-buzz.com.

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