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Hurricane Frances Observed by NASA's satellites

NASA satellites observe and reveal unique aspects of earth events using various technical observing techniques. Hurricane Frances made landfall at the populated Cocoa Beach, Florida the weekend of September 4, 2004 and caused heavy damages due to high winds and heavy rain, as well as several fatalities. Below are images of Hurricane Frances viewed by the MODIS, SeaWiFS, and TRMM instruments. Click on each thumbnail image to see a larger image.

Skip to: MODIS | SeaWiFS | TRMM

MODIS     Back to top
True color image of the Hurricane Frances from the MODIS/Terra Direct Broadcast on 09/03/2004

September 3, 2004:
The MODIS/Terra Direct Broadcast station feed at the Goddard Space Flight Center from September 3 enabled production of this true color image of Hurricane Frances, as it was approached Florida coast on morningof September 3, 2004, Figure 1.The Goddard Data and Information Services Center archives and makes that data available within couple of hours from the satellite overpass which is about 10:30 local time at the equator.The resolution of such true color images form MODIS can be as fine as 250 meters.

Image courtesy of the MODIS Data Support Team at NASA's GES DISC DAAC.

Brightness temperatures from channel 31 of MODIS/Terra on the night of 09/03/2004

September 3, 2004:
Thanks to some shear created by upper-level southwesterly winds, Frances deteriorated a bit, lost its well-formed eye as can be seen from Figure 1, and showed sustained winds at that time of 120 kt.However, Frances was still a dangerous hurricane: it moved slowly, at only about 8 kt, and stayed longer over the very warm waters off the Florida coast.Thiss shows the brightness temperatures as retrieved from channel 31 of MODIS/Terra on the night of September 3.

Image courtesy of the MODIS Data Support Team at NASA's GES DISC DAAC.

SeaWiFS     Back to top
Hurricane Frances observed by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS)

September 1, 2004:
Hurricane Frances observed by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) on September 1, 2004, as the storm battered the southern Bahamas. The turquoise-blue shallows of the northern Bahamas, soon to feel the winds of Frances, lie to the west. The Florida peninsula, partially covered by clouds, is on the left side of the image; the islands of Cuba, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman are at the bottom of the image.

Image courtesy of Norman Kuring of the NASA SeaWiFS Project.

Grand Bahama Bank about to be covered by the clouds of Frances

September 2, 2004:
Hurricane Frances observed by SeaWiFS as it moved into the northern Bahamas. Grand Bahama Bank is the area of turquoise-blue water about to be covered by the clouds of Frances. Florida is in the center of this image, with Cuba at the bottom and the Yucatan Peninsula at bottom left.

Image courtesy of Norman Kuring of the NASA SeaWiFS Project.

sediments suspended by hurricane winds in the shallow waters south of the Turks and Caicos Islands

September 3, 2004:
Hurricane Frances observed by SeaWiFS as it slowly approaches the Florida peninsula on the horizon. The bright blue-green water in the foreground is due to sediments suspended by hurricane winds in the shallow waters south of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Image courtesy of Norman Kuring of the NASA SeaWiFS Project.

Hurricane Frances observed by SeaWiFS on September 6, 2004

September 6, 2004:
SeaWiFS acquired this view as the clouds of tropical storm Frances swirled over Georgia, releasing tremendous amounts of rain. The Bahamas Banks are now visible, revealing effects caused by the passage of the hurricane.

Image courtesy of Norman Kuring of the NASA SeaWiFS Project.

SeaWiFS view of the Bahamas acquired on June 1, 2004  Hurricane Frances observed by SeaWiFS on September 6, 2004

June 1, 2004andSeptember 6, 2004:
The left image is a SeaWiFS view of the Bahamas acquired on June 1, 2004, a calm day. Compare this scene to the image on the right, which is the Bahamas area excerpted from the larger September 6 image shown above. The storm winds of Frances suspended the sediments in the shallow Bahamas Banks, creating the distinctive blue-white coloration. The blue boxes highlight areas where suspended bank sediments are being transported to deeper offshore waters. As Frances moved to the north, the winds circulating around the eye came from the southwest over the Bahamas, pushing the suspended sediments in a northeastward direction. ( Click here to see the image on the left with the highlight boxes removed.)

Images courtsey of Norman Kuring of the NASA SeaWiFS Project.

TRMM     Back to top
TRMM image of Hurricane Frances

September 4, 2004:
Accumulated rainfall before Frances made landfall. The front edge of the rain bands was already affecting the east coast of Florida.

Image created with the TRMM Online Visualization and Analysis System (TOVAS, http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/precipitation/tovas/). Image courtesy of Zhong Liu at NASA's GES DISC DAAC.

TRMM image of Hurricane Frances

September 5, 2004:
Three areas with heavy rainfall in Florida when Frances made landfall and crawled across the state.

Image created with the TRMM Online Visualization and Analysis System (TOVAS, http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/precipitation/tovas/). Image courtesy of Zhong Liu at NASA's GES DISC DAAC.

TRMM image of Hurricane Frances

September 6, 2004:
Heavy rain continued as Frances weakened and moved out of Florida.

Image created with the TRMM Online Visualization and Analysis System (TOVAS, http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/precipitation/tovas/). Image courtesy of Zhong Liu at NASA's GES DISC DAAC.

TRMM image of Hurricane Frances

September 4-6, 2004:
Rainfall total during the pass of Frances across Florida.

Image created with the TRMM Online Visualization and Analysis System (TOVAS, http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/precipitation/tovas/). Image courtesy of Zhong Liu at NASA's GES DISC DAAC.

TRMM image of Hurricane Frances

September 1-6, 2004:
The track of heavy rainfall left by Frances (Note: the color bar scale is different from that of the other TRMM images in this gallery).

View a GIF animation of this track of heavy rainfall left by Frances

Image created with the TRMM Online Visualization and Analysis System (TOVAS, http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/precipitation/tovas/). Image courtesy of Zhong Liu at NASA's GES DISC DAAC.

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Last updated: Jun 15, 2012 10:09 AM ET
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