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You are here: GES DISC Home Hurricanes Additional Features Science Focus HURRICANE EPSILON NOVEMBER 29 - DECEMBER 08 2005


Hurricane Epsilon track diagram

Figure 1.     Best Track analysis of Hurricane Epsilon, a long lasting late-season Hurricane1.


Storm Status

Wind Speed

Green=Tropical Depression

<39 mph

Yellow=Tropical Storm

39-73 mph

Light Red=Category 1-2 Hurricane

74-110 mph

Dark Red=Category 3-5 Hurricane



Hurricane Epsilon was a stubborn, late-season hurricane that lasted for over a week in the central Atlantic.  Epsilon was the season’s twenty-sixth named storm, and only the sixth storm on record during the month of December2


Storm History

Epsilon developed underneath a very broad non-tropical low in the Central Atlantic on 29 November well east of Bermuda.  Epsilon continued to strengthen through the overnight hours, and by the afternoon of 30 November, had become a strong Tropical Storm with maximum sustained winds around 70 mph2.  Over the next several hours, however, Epsilon weakened slightly as the central eye became more ragged, and cloud top temperatures warmed. 

Unexpectedly, at 10 AM EST, Epsilon became the season’s fifteenth hurricane as he moved to around 1220 miles west of the Azores3 even though he had moved over rather cool Atlantic waters ranging from 21-24 degrees C.  While, National Hurricane Center forecasters expected a steady weakening, Epsilon continued to hang onto hurricane intensity, and in the 11AM EST advisory the next day, the Senior Hurricane Specialist—Lixion Avila—explained:

 “Epsilon is a tenacious tropical cyclone which has maintained hurricane intensity over cool waters and apparent unfavorable atmospheric conditions5.”                 

After slight weakening overnight, Epsilon once again re-strengthened into an 85 mph Hurricane early on 4 December.  Finally, on 7 December, westerly upper level winds ripped the remaining thunderstorm activity from Epsilon’s center, and he was downgraded to a Tropical Storm, and 12 hours later, any remaining convection had completely vanished from the center of circulation, and Epsilon was downgraded to a Tropical Depression.   The final sentence in the thirty-seventh discussion on Epsilon reads, “I hope this is the end of the long-lasting 2005 hurricane season.”  Tropical Storm Zeta developed twenty-two days later. 


Data, Images and Animations

+Explore and analyze gridded data of the hurricane using the GES-DISC Interactive Online Visualization and Analysis Infrastructure (Giovanni)

+Use Mirador or WHOM to obtain data provided by the GES DISC DAAC for a hurricane event.

+View animations and images of Hurricane Epsilon in the 2005 Past Hurricane Archive.


Epsilon RGB
MODIS Aqua RGB using the MOD02HKM product. This image is of the swath data from Dec 05 at 1550 hrs. More images like this and parameters animation created from other datasets can be seen in our Archive Image Gallery for hurricane Epsilon .


 1. Image courtesy of the NOAA coastal Services Center  Http://

2. Franklin, James. “Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Epsilon.” 7 January 2006. (11 July 2006).

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Last updated: May 27, 2010 04:35 PM ET