Hurricane scientists at AOML sampled multiple storms this summer as the Atlantic entered its peak period for hurricane formation. From Elsa to Sam, the observations they gathered supported NOAA’s mission of preparing the public for severe weather by providing critical data for accurate, up-to-date forecasts.
NOAA aircraft reconnaissance continued for Major Hurricane Delta on October 6, capturing the system’s quick maturation overnight. P-3 and G-IV missions are scheduled every 12 and 24 hours from Lakeland, FL. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) tasked NOAA’s Hurricane Hunters to identify the location and strength of the circulation center, and to survey the atmospheric conditions nearby and ahead of Delta. Instrumentation onboard the aircraft have sampled the system’s development, revealing a 55 knot rapid intensification in just 24 hours.
AOML hurricane scientists supporting NOAA reconnaissance into Hurricane Laura recognized the onset of rapid intensification when thunderstorms, often referred to as convection, began working its way around the entirety of the storm center.
In a recently published study, AOML hurricane researchers used multiple computer model forecasts to gain a better understanding of how Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in the panhandle of Florida with winds up to 162 mph, rapidly intensified despite strong upper-level wind shear which usually weakens hurricanes. By contrasting two sets of forecasts, the study found that Michael only rapidly intensified when rainfall completely surrounded Michael’s center, and when the eye of the storm itself was located in nearly the same place at different heights.