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Tracking Hurricane Dorian from space with NOAA satellites

GOES East can show Dorian in real time

NOAA satellite GOES East image showing Tropical Storm Dorian moving over the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (Image: NOAA)
NOAA satellite GOES East image showing Tropical Storm Dorian moving over the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. (Image: NOAA)


With a fleet of specialized satellites, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can track Hurricane Dorian in real time with high-definition images. As of Wednesday, Dorian is on a track that puts Florida in its path and will make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane near Cape Canaveral.

NOAA's satellite GOES East, which launched from Cape Canaveral in 2016, tracks Dorian with images showing the system with infrared and real color images, as well as the concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere.

GOES East stands for geostationary operational environmental satellite. The satellite is currently keeping an eye on the eastern hemisphere, hence the name GOES East. A sister satellite, GOES West, is tracking conditions in the western hemisphere.

[TRACKING DORIAN: Get latest spaghetti models, track, satellite images of Dorian | Dorian could be first major hurricane to make landfall at Kennedy Space Center]

The infrared map from GOES East shows heat radiating off clouds. Orange can mean a more active weather system, according to NOAA.

The advanced satellite imagery can help meteorologists make better, more detailed forecasts of a system, like Dorian, as it unfolds.

GOES East also includes the first lightning mapper in stationary orbit with Earth. The instrument allows forecasters to track lighting instantaneously, according to NOAA.

Images downlinked from GOES East can be viewed in real-time on a 3D global map at Nesdis.noaa.gov. The interactive map updates every 15 minutes.

Speaking of lightning, NOAA's joint polar satellite system captured then Tropical Storm Dorian as it moved through the eastern Caribbean Tuesday morning, "showing the structure of the storm and lightning between Barbados and St. Lucia," according to NOAA.


The latest image of Hurricane Dorian from GOES East shows the system moving closer to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, the satellite captured Dorian and a large plume of Saharan dust blowing across the Atlantic Ocean.

GOES East spotted one of the largest plumes of Saharan dust this year blowing across the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, as Tropical Storm Dorian passed over the Lesser Antilles. (Image: NOAA)
GOES East spotted one of the largest plumes of Saharan dust this year blowing across the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, as Tropical Storm Dorian passed over the Lesser Antilles. (Image: NOAA)



Dorian is expected to strengthen in the next 24 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.


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