Nav: Home

NASA finds a disorganized tropical storm Arthur near North Carolina coast

May 18, 2020

Infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite and radar imagery revealed that Tropical Storm Arthur remains poorly organized. Strongest storms, according to the Aqua data, appeared along and off the southeastern coast of North Carolina.

Warnings and Watches

On May 18, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Surf City to Duck, North Carolina, and for the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.

Satellite Imagery

NASA's Aqua satellite used infrared light to analyze the strength of storms and found the center of circulation was displaced from the bulk of them. Infrared data provides temperature information, and the strongest thunderstorms that reach high into the atmosphere have the coldest cloud top temperatures.

On May 18 at 2:35 a.m. EDT (0635 UTC), the MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite showed strongest storms in Tropical Storm Arthur were along the southeastern coast of North Carolina and just off-shore. Those strong storms contained cloud top temperatures were as cold as minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 52.7 Celsius). Cloud top temperatures that cold indicate strong storms with the potential to generate heavy rainfall.

MODIS imagery showed the low-level center located near the southwestern edge of a complex of ragged convective bands.

Status on May 18, 2020

At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported the center of Tropical Storm Arthur was located near latitude 34.5 north, longitude 75.9 west. Arthur was moving toward the north-northeast near 15 mph (24 kph).  A turn toward the northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected later today, followed by a turn toward the east on Tuesday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 kph) with higher gusts. While some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Arthur is likely to lose its tropical characteristics on Tuesday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km) mainly to the east of the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure reported from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 1001 millibars.

Rip Currents and Life-Threatening Surf Along Coastal Areas

Swells generated by Arthur are affecting portions of the southeast U.S. coast and are expected to spread northward along the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast during the next day or two. NHC cautioned, "These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions."

Arthur's Forecast Path

At 5 a.m. EDT on May 18, 2020, NOAA's National Hurricane Center noted that Arthur's movement is going to be affected by two factors: "A baroclinic trough (elongated area of low pressure) and associated surface front approaching from the west should cause Arthur to turn northeastward during the next several hours. The forecast track shows the center passing near or just offshore of the North Carolina Outer Banks.  By Tuesday and Tuesday night, Arthur will be entering the strong mid-latitude Westerlies, which will steer cyclone eastward in a day or two."
For updated forecasts, visit:

By Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related Infrared Imagery Articles:

Infrared NASA imagery finds Chan-hom organizing, consolidating
NASA's Aqua satellite analyzed the large Tropical Storm Chan-hom as it tracked through the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.
NASA infrared imagery reveals wind shear displacing Marie's strongest storms
NASA's Aqua satellite provided an infrared view of Tropical Storm Marie that revealed the effects of outside winds battering the storm.
NASA satellite imagery shows Teddy consolidating
When a tropical cyclone consolidates, it means that it is getting more organized and its circulation is improving.
Infrared NASA imagery provides Paulette's temperature palette
NASA's Aqua satellite analyzed Tropical Storm Paulette in infrared imagery as it moved through the Central Atlantic Ocean.
NASA infrared imagery shows Tropical Storm Rene's seesaw of strength
Tropical Storm Rene weakened to a tropical depression late on Sept.
NASA infrared imagery shows wind shear affecting Tropical Storm Paulette
Tropical Storm Paulette has run into wind shear that is pushing the bulk of clouds and showers away from its center of circulation, and that is apparent on infrared imagery from NASA.
NASA infrared imagery shows Hagupit nearing landfall in China
NASA's Aqua satellite provided a look at Typhoon Hagupit as it was nearing landfall in southeastern China.
Tropical Storm Douglas organizing in NASA infrared imagery
Tropical Depression 8E developed on July 20 and quickly organized into a tropical storm.
Edouard now post-tropical in NASA-NOAA satellite imagery
When NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the western North Atlantic Ocean on July 6, it provided forecasters with a visible image of Edouard after it transitioned into a post-tropical cyclone.
NASA infrared imagery indicates cristobal's heavy rainmaking capabilities
One of the ways NASA observes tropical cyclones is by using infrared data that provides temperature information and indicates storm strength.
More Infrared Imagery News and Infrared Imagery Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.