Some stunning satellite imagery has been generated by Hurricane Sam throughout its lengthy lifespan. From eyewall replacement cycles to rapid intensification, hurricane hunter planes and g
Some stunning satellite imagery has been generated by Hurricane Sam throughout its lengthy lifespan. The ferocious cyclone has remained at a distance. This has allowed weather experts and even casual observers to marvel at the beauty of one of the most powerful natural forces on the planet.
Hurricane Sam makes its presence known
Over the course of its lifetime, Hurricane Sam has generated some breathtaking satellite imagery. From eyewall replacement cycles to rapid intensification, global satellites and hurricane hunter planes have given us a peek into the lifecycle of this massive tropical cyclone miles away at sea.
On the morning of September 30th, the Air Force Hurricane Hunters flew right into Hurricane Sam in the dark. Along with the normal weather and radar data they collected, they captured a rare photo of stars from inside the hurricane’s eye.
Sam earned its name back in September 23rd for the first time. This was when it became a tropical storm. Not long after, Sam exploded in strength and underwent what meteorologists call “rapid intensification.” This is an increase in a storm’s maximum sustained winds of over 35 mph in less than 24 hours.
Sam jumps Hurricane Categories quickly
After earning its name, Sam started its journey as a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The hurricane quickly increased in its intensity this weekend and ultimately peaked as a strong Category 4 hurricane on Sunday. Hurricane Sam’s maximum sustained winds, at this point, were around 150 mph.
It fell short of becoming the first storm this season to hit the Category 5 hurricane status. Hurricanes in Category 5 have sustained winds of 157 mph or more. Towards the end of the weekend, satellite imagery visually confirmed Hurricane Sam’s strength as it had formed a defined eye.
The term “eye of the storm” is one that meteorologists use to define the area of lowest pressure in a tropical cyclone. The border of the eye is called the eyewall. This is typically where the most inclement conditions occur.
Over the course of its lifetime, a powerful hurricane will go through a phenomenon known as an eyewall replacement cycle. This process essentially takes place as a means to stabilize the core of a hurricane.
During this process, an eyewall replacement cycle will cause the storm to lose some wind intensity. It may even be downgraded to a lower category. This is what happened with Hurricane Sam early this week. During its eyewall replacement cycle, Sam remained a powerful storm but dipped to Category 3 status on Monday.