Images produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC).
Hurricane Ignacio has continued to threaten the Baja California peninsula
with high winds, heavy surf and the potential for flood-producing rainfall.
Ignacio was declared a tropical depression at 5 am PDT (1200 UTC) on Friday,
the 22nd of August, 2003 by the National Hurricane Center while it was 125
miles west of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was upgraded to a tropical
storm on the 23rd of August and became a hurricane at 2 am PDT, August 24th
as it continued to move slowly northwest towards the southern tip of Baja
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite captured these
images of Hurricane Ignacio when it was just 50 miles off of the southeastern
coast of Baja California near the southern tip of the peninsula. The images
were taken at 10:25 am PDT (17:25 UTC) on the 24th of August. At the time
Ignacio was classified as a category 2 hurricane by the National Hurricane
Center with sustained winds of 105 mph. The image on the left shows a plan or top
down view of the storm in terms of rainfall rates from the TRMM Precipitation
Radar (PR) in the inner swath and the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) in the
outter swath overlayed on TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS) data (white
areas). It shows that Ignacio has a closed eye but that the storm is still
very assymmetrical with all of the intense rainfall (darker reds) on the
north and east side of the storm, indicative of a storm that is not yet
completely organized. The image on the right shows an east-west vertical slice
taken by the PR through the center of Ignacio that again shows the heaviest
rainfall on the right or eastside of the storm (darker reds) as well as a
tall tower known as a chimney cloud on the eastern eye wall that indicates
the release of a lot of heat energy which powers the storm.
This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.