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NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided night-time and infrared views of developing Tropical Storm Nestor in the Gulf of Mexico and found over-shooting cloud tops and gravity waves. When the satellite passed over the potential tropical depression early on Oct. 18, it was consolidating. Less than 12 hours later, it became a tropical storm.
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard Suomi NPP provided a night-time and an infrared image of the storm.
Image - Oct - EDT - Lightning - Cloud
The night-time image was captured on Oct. 18 at 3:41 a.m. EDT and revealed lightning, overshooting cloud tops into the stratosphere and gravity waves. An overshooting cloud top is a dome-like protrusion above a cumulonimbus anvil cloud, often penetrating into the lower stratosphere. It indicates a very strong updraft in the convective cloud or thunderstorm.
Gravity waves are the mark of a powerful storm. They are created when air moving around the atmosphere gets pushed to another place as in the case of tropical cyclones. Powerful thunderstorms around a tropical cyclone's center can move air up and down and generate these waves in quick, short bursts. They can be seen as ripples in some imagery of clouds in a tropical cyclone.
Imagery - Suomi - NPP - VIIRS - Instrument
The infrared imagery captured by Suomi NPP's VIIRS instrument on Oct. 18 at 3:41 a.m. EDT showed powerful thunderstorms with cloud tops colder than minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 80 degrees Celsius) within the eastern part of the storm.
Visible satellite imagery and data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft also showed a rather large and elongated surface circulation.
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