NASA’s Terra Satellite shows strength around Tropical Storm Nicole’s center


Credit: Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Strong thunderstorms were evident around Tropical Storm Nicole's center of circulation in imagery from NASA's Terra satellite. Bermuda is now under a watch and a warning as Nicole is forecast to head that way in the next couple of days.

On Oct. 10 at 10:55 a.m. EDT when Terra passed over the Atlantic Ocean, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument provided a visible picture of the storm. The image showed a concentration of powerful thunderstorms circling Nicole's center that appeared a brighter white than those storms surrounding the center. There was also a powerful band of thunderstorms northeast of the center, indicating that wind shear was still affecting the storm.

Twenty-four hours later, that vertical wind shear finally weakened, which is expected to enable Nicole to strengthen to hurricane force as it heads toward Bermuda.

On Oct. 11 at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) the National Hurricane Center (NHC) discussion noted: "Nicole's cloud pattern has improved this morning, with several bands of convection wrapping around the center. Recent microwave imagery has revealed a well-defined low-level eye feature and there are hints of a ragged banding eye forming in last few visible satellite pictures."

On Tuesday, Oct. 11 a Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for Bermuda.

At that time, Nicole's center was near 27.3 degrees north latitude and 65.9 degrees west longitude. That's about 350 miles (565 km) south of Bermuda. The National Hurricane Center said Nicole was moving toward the north-northwest near 5 mph (7 kph) and a turn toward the north and an increase in forward speed is expected tonight, followed by a northeast turn on Wednesday, Oct. 12. On the forecast track, the center of Nicole is expected to approach Bermuda Wednesday night and pass near Bermuda Thursday morning.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 mph (100 kph) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Nicole is forecast to become a hurricane late in the day on Oct. 11.

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