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NASA Spacecraft, Satellites Observe Hurricanes Lester, Madeline in a Day

Sep 01, 2016 04:35 AM EDT
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NASA's satellites and spacecraft, including the space station, served as eyes to observe the weather activities visible from outside the planet like hurricanes. In a not-so-ordinary day, NASA spotted at least three hurricanes all within 24 hours, two of which may potentially reach Hawaii.

On Aug. 30, the camera attached to the International Space Station (ISS) spotted two hurricanes. All these were captured within a 24-hour timeframe and were recorded in a timelapse video that showed the hurricane's movement.

Because the ISS orbits the Earth, it has to maintain a speed of 17,00 miles per hour, enabling the spacecraft to complete an orbit every 90 minutes. The movement of the ISS allowed the astronauts to observe the Earth from a distance, including weather changes like the hurricanes. The hurricanes spotted were named Madeline and Lester, according to a report.

NASA released a 10-minute video of the hurricanes that are reported to have a landfall in Hawaii. If the hurricanes will indeed make a landfall, it will be the first in Hawaii since 1949.

Based on the observation from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite, Lester and Madeline were both between categories 3 and 4 storms.

Due to the proximity of both hurricanes in Hawaii, experts believe that landfall may occur. On Aug. 30 11:00, Madeline was spotted 370 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii with a speed of 115 miles (185 kilometers) per hour while Lester is at 120 miles (195 kilometers) per hour is in the east of Hilo.

"This track will take the center of Madeline dangerously close to the Big Island of Hawaii late Wednesday and Thursday," the forecasters at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said in a press release. "Given its close approach and uncertainty in the track forecast, a Hurricane Warning has been issued for the Big Island of Hawaii."

The residents of the potential area of landfall were warned ahead of time and are said to be preparing for the hurricanes. NASA's ability to spot potential hurricanes from space enables forecasters on Earth to perform evacuation and preparations if needed.

While the Hawaiian community is preparing for Madeline's landfall, Lester may approach Hawaii on Sept. 2 to 3.

 

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