Douglas – Eastern Pacific Ocean

July 24, 2020 -NASA’s Tracking Hawaii-bound Major Hurricane Douglas

Hurricane Douglas is a major hurricane tracking through the Central Pacific Ocean on a forecast track to Hawaii. NASA’s Aqua satellite used infrared light to identify strongest storms and coldest cloud top temperatures and found them surrounding the eyewall of the powerful hurricane. In addition, images from NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite were used to generate an animated track of Douglas’ movement and intensification over four days.

Aqua image of Douglas
On July 24 at 6:30 a.m. EDT (1030 UTC), the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite gathered temperature information about Hurricane Douglas’ cloud tops. MODIS found the most powerful thunderstorms (red) were in the eyewall, where temperatures were as cold as or colder than minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.6 Celsius). Credit: NASA/NRL

Infrared Data Reveals Powerful Storms

On July 24 at 6:30 a.m. EDT (1030 UTC), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite gathered temperature information about Hurricane Douglas’ cloud tops. Infrared data provides temperature information, and the strongest thunderstorms that reach high into the atmosphere have the coldest cloud top temperatures.

MODIS found the most powerful thunderstorms were in the eyewall, where temperatures were as cold as or colder than minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.6 Celsius). Cloud top temperatures that cold indicate strong storms with the potential to generate heavy rainfall.

Andrew Latto, hurricane specialist at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center noted, “Douglas continues to look impressive in satellite images, with a clear eye and symmetric convection in all quadrants.”

NASA Animates Douglas Through Time

At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. using the NASA Worldview platform, an animation was created to show Douglas over four days. Using visible imagery from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite, an animation shows the intensification and movement of Hurricane Douglas from July 20 to July 24 in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Douglas was a Category 4 hurricane on July 24.

Suomi NPP image of Douglas
This animation of visible imagery from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite shows the intensification and movement of Hurricane Douglas from July 20 to July 24 in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Douglas was a Category 4 hurricane on July 24. Image Courtesy: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).

Douglas’ Status on Friday, July 24, 2020

At 5 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC), the center of Hurricane Douglas was located near latitude 15.7 degrees north and longitude 140.3 degrees west. That is about 1,010 miles (1,630 km) east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii.

Douglas is moving toward the west-northwest near 18 mph (30 kph), and this motion is expected to continue for the next few days with a gradual decrease in forward speed and a slight turn toward the west.

Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph (215 kph) with higher gusts.  Douglas is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 954 millibars.

Gradual weakening is expected to begin today, July 24, and continue through the weekend.

NHC Key Messages

The National Hurricane Center’s key about Douglas is that the storm is expected to move near or over portions of the Hawaiian Islands this weekend, and there is an increasing chance that strong winds, dangerous surf, and heavy rainfall could affect portions of the state beginning Saturday night or Sunday.

About NASA’s Worldview

NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application provides the capability to interactively browse over 700 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers and then download the underlying data. Many of the available imagery layers are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it looks “right now.”

Tropical cyclones/hurricanes are the most powerful weather events on Earth. NASA’s expertise in space and scientific exploration contributes to essential services provided to the American people by other federal agencies, such as hurricane weather forecasting.

For updated forecasts, visit: www.nhc.noaa.gov

By Rob Gutro 
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center