August 9, 2014 - Hurricane Iselle (09E) in the eastern Pacific Ocean

Hurricane Iselle (09E) in the eastern Pacific Ocean

On August 1, 2014 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of newly born Tropical Storm Iselle as it was intensify in the eastern Pacific Ocean. At the time the image was captured, the storm had developed a distinct although partially cloud-filled eye, and sported a tightening apostrophe shape.

About seven hours later, at 0300 UTC on August 2 (8:00 p.m. on Aug 1PDT), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced that Iselle had reached hurricane status, with winds of 75 mph (120 km/h). By 2100 UTC that same day (2:00 p.m. PDT), maximum sustained winds had reached 100 mph (155 km/h), making Iselle a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. It was located 1675 mi (2695 km) east of Hilo Hawaii and was travelling west at 9 mph (15 km/h). Strengthening continued and on August 3 the storm became a major hurricane, with winds of 115 mph (185 km/h). Winds peaked near 140 mph (220 km/h) on August 4, as Iselle continued to track towards Hawaii as a Category 4 hurricane.

Fortunately the storm ran into wind shear and unfavorable conditions, and began to slowly weaken on August 5. However, Iselle maintained hurricane status as it churned relentless towards Hawaii – until 0900 UTC (11:00 p.m. HST) on August 8, when winds finally dropped to 70 mph (110 km/h). At that time, the storm was only 50 mi (80 km) south of Hilo, Hawaii.

Iselle move ashore near Pahala, HI on August 8 as a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (100 km/h) according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC). Tropical storm warnings remained in effect for Hawaii County, Maui County (including the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe), Oahu and Kauai County through 8 p.m. local time that day.

While no longer the major hurricane of earlier in the week, strong winds and heavy rains buffeted the Hawaiian Islands. Local media reported downed trees, damages to roofs and power outages – but initial assessments did not report injuries or deaths. Authorities are urging caution and vigilance, as flooding and road closures could occur as the storm continues to dump rain in some areas.

Iselle is expected to continue to weaken over the next few days, slowly becoming a remnant low as it moves well away from the islands. As Iselle moves away, Hurricane Julio continues to approach Hawaii as a Category 2 storm. Julio is expected to closely skirt Hawaii, moving north of the islands as it weakens over the next several days.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 8/1/2014
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC