Irene sidles up to the east coast

By Phil Plait | August 26, 2011 3:00 pm

The first hurricane of the 2011 season hits the U.S. east coast, as seen by a NASA Earth-observing satellite:

[Click to encoriolenate, or grab the nearly one-to-one sized 6000×7000 pixel version.]

This image was taken on August 26, 2011 at 16:30 UTC. For more images and video of Irene, keep an eye on the NASA GSFC Flickr page and follow them on Twitter.

Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

Related posts:

Putting the eye in Irene
Come on, Irene
Attack of the Cyclones
Hurricane double whammy

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: Hurricane Irene

Comments (14)

  1. Keith Bowden

    How cute, they’re spooning.

    Wait a minute…

  2. NAW

    Well looks like some of the coast areas will get some rain. Kind of funny there, I live right around the south-western edge of the storm in the image. Really clear right now though.

  3. TechBear

    Wow. It still astonishes me just how clear satellite images can be.

    I’m curious, though. Look south from the Florida panhandle, and there is a seemginly perfect ring of clouds with two dense columns of clouds on its west side; another, less perfect ring is immediately to its east. A few more rings are south and a bit east of Louisiana’s toe. What would cause that kind of formation?

  4. John Sandlin

    @TechBear: Eddies?

    That’s a good question. Hope someone pipes in with the real answer. I didn’t even notice them until I read your comment.


  5. Robin Byron

    I’m about 20 miles West of N. Myrtle Beach and it’s not too bad currently. Winds gusting to 23 (highest I’ve seen so far) and 0.58 inches rain.

    With NWS reporting up to 5 inches of rain and wind gusts to 60 mph possible, we have a ways to go. Local swamps and creeks are also expected to flood (duh), so it wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable to have a confused alligator in the back yard in the morning.

  6. Daveq

    The size of these things never fails to amaze me. It certainly provides prospective for how powerful nature can be.

  7. Wzrd1

    Being IN one REALLY gives you perspective of how powerful nature can be. I had to drive in a category 3 once. White knuckled is an understatement! I STILL don’t know HOW the hell I stayed on the road that I couldn’t see.

    @Robin #5, alligator soup! Ship some up, never tried it yet. ūüėČ

    Irene better watch it. If she interferes with my watching the season return of Doctor Who, she’s going to have a BIG problem with THIS oncoming storm!

  8. bad Jim

    What is weather doing on an astronomy site? I come here to read about meteors, not meteorology!

    There are people minimizing the threat of this thing and criticizing the steps being taken to minimize the possible damage, particularly in New York. While Irene is not at present an especially intense hurricane, it is immense, 1000 km in diameter, and thus more dangerous than a more typical hurricane. Let’s hope the grumblers turn out to be right and the precautions prove unnecessary.

  9. Mekhong Kurt

    I’m always amazed by this sort of picture. This is beautiful — on my computer screen. I’ve lived through several fairly serious typhoons (I’ve live in coastal parts, or near coastal parts, of Asia for about 25 years — Tianjin, Beijing, Macau, and Bangkok. They’re no fun looking UP at them!

    @Wzrd1 # 7, got quite a chuckle out of both your reply to @Robin and your “threat” over “Dr. Who”!

  10. Bill

    3. TechBear Says:
    What would cause that kind of formation?

    Outflow from previous thunderstorm. Cold air descending within a thunderstorm hits the surface and spreads out creating a small front. The circular clouds you see come from the rising air at the boundary/front. If the conditions are right, these will stimulate the formation of new thunderstorms and new outflow boundaries.

    Just look at any afternoon radar in southern Florida or costal Louisiana in the summer and you will see weak echos coming from a thunderstorm.

  11. Jake

    Incorrect headline. “Irene” begins with an “I”, and I believe that makes her the ninth of the season.

  12. Wzrd1

    @Mekhong # 9, one MUST have a sense of humor.
    That said, if Irene messes with Dr Who tonight, I’ll poke Irene in the eye! ūüėČ

  13. Wzrd1

    OK, I poked her in the eye a LITTLE. Only because it was NOAA that interrupted the program.
    THAT said, three transformer or power line explosions in the last 5 minutes.
    MANY tornado warnings.

  14. Jake, Irene was the ninth named storm of the season. Storms receive a name when they make Tropical Storm status (sustained winds of at least 39 mph). But it was the first storm to break into Hurricane status (sustained winds of at least 73 mph). The headline was completely accurate.


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