Public Release: 

Hurricane Chris's eye stares at NASA's Aqua satellite

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center


IMAGE: AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Hurricane Chris on July 11 at 2:17 a.m. EDT (0617 UTC) and analyzed the storm in infrared light. AIRS found strongest storms... view more 

Credit: Credits: NASA JPL/Heidar Thrastarson

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the U.S. Eastern seaboard, it captured an infrared image of Hurricane Chris that showed an eye staring back at the satellite. Chris is expected to continue generating heavy ocean swells along the U.S. East Coast and bring heavy rainfall to Newfoundland, Canada.

Chris strengthened into a hurricane on July 10 at 5 p.m. EDT when it was about 205 miles (330 km) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Hurricane Chris on July 11 at 2:17 a.m. EDT (0617 UTC) and analyzed the storm in infrared light. Infrared light provides scientists with temperature data and that's important when trying to understand how strong storms can be. The higher the cloud tops, the colder and the stronger they are. So infrared light as that gathered by the AIRS instrument can identify the strongest sides of a tropical cyclone.

AIRS detected strongest storms in a thick band around the eye, and in large, fragmented bands of thunderstorms north and east of the center. All of those area revealed cloud top temperatures as cold as minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius). Storms with cloud top temperatures that cold have the capability to produce heavy rainfall.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km).

Heavy Rains Expected in Newfoundland, Ocean Swells Along the U.S. East Coast

NHC cautioned that ocean swells generated by Hurricane Chris are expected to affect portions of the coasts of North Carolina and the Mid-Atlantic States during the next few days. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Chris' forecast track brings the hurricane near Newfoundland, Canada. Chris is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches (25 to 75 millimeters) over Newfoundland, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches (150 millimeters). These rains may cause flash flooding.

The Status of Chris on July 11, 2018

The National Hurricane Center noted at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Chris was located near latitude 36.4 degrees north and longitude 67.8 degrees west. Maximum sustained winds are near 100 mph (155 kph) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected during the day today, with some weakening forecast on Thursday, July 12.

Chris was moving toward the northeast near 22 mph (35 kph). The hurricane is forecast to remain on this general heading with an increase in forward speed for the next several days. On the forecast track the center of Chris will pass near southeastern Newfoundland, Canada on Thursday, July 12.

Chris will likely also become a strong post-tropical cyclone on Thursday.


About the AIRS instrument

Launched into Earth orbit in 2002, the AIRS instrument flies onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

More information about AIRS can be found at

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