A late-season tropical storm churned the waters of the central Atlantic Ocean in late November, 2013. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of the birth of Tropical Storm Melissa on November 18, just twelve days before the Atlantic hurricane season’s November 30 end date.
The newly forming storm sported a loose apostrophe shape with wide convective bands spiraling out from the center, and was located about 695 mi (1,120 km) east-southeast of Bermuda. With winds of 50 mph (80 km/h), Melissa was a subtropical storm at the time this image was captured.
Melissa made the transition from subtropical to tropical storm on November 20. At 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST) that day Melissa’s maximum sustained winds were 60 mph (96 km/h). Although not particularly strong, the storm was fairly large, with tropical storm force winds extending outward up to 305 mi (335 km) from the center.
By the afternoon of November 21, Tropical Storm Melissa’s maximum sustained winds were at 65 mph (105 km/h) – which was the peak strength attained. By the next day the storm was rapidly weakening. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued the last advisory on the Melissa on November 22 at 0300 UTC (Nov. 21 10:00 p.m. EST). At that time, the storm was located near latitude 41.5°N and longitude 29.0°W, with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph (85 km/h).
Melissa brought gale force winds to the western Azores, but no significant damage was reported.