NASA finds heavy rainmaking thunderstorms in Hurricane Bud

IMAGE: NASA’s Aqua satellite captured infrared temperature data of Hurricane Bud on June 11, 2018, at 4:17 p.m. EDT (2017 UTC). Strong storms around the center (yellow) were as cold as…
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Credit: NASA JPL/Heidar Thrastarson

Powerful Hurricane Bud sat near the coast of southwestern Mexico when NASA’s Aqua satellite observed some very high, towering thunderstorms within. Because of its close proximity to land, warnings are already in effect for areas in Mexico.

On June 11, Bud was close to land and has triggered a number of warnings and watches. By June 12, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) dropped the watches and warnings and noted “interests in southern Baja California Sur, Mexico, should monitor the progress of Bud.”

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, or AIRS, instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured infrared temperature data on Hurricane Bud on June 11 at 4:17 p.m. EDT (2017 UTC). Infrared data provides temperature information which helps forecasters know where the strongest, highest storms with coldest cloud tops are within a tropical cyclone.

Infrared imagery showed very cold cloud top temperatures of strong thunderstorms around center of circulation where temperatures were as cold as minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 Celsius). Temperatures that cold indicate strong uplift in the storm and cloud tops high into the troposphere. NASA research has shown that storms with cloud tops that cold have the ability to generate heavy rain.

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) on June 12, the center of the eye of Hurricane Bud was located near latitude 18.4 degrees north and longitude 108.4 degrees west. That’s about 225 miles (360 km) southwest of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico.

NHC said “Bud was moving toward the northwest near 6 mph (9 kph). A slow north-northwestward motion is expected later today through Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Bud will be approaching Baja California Sur on Thursday and near or over Baja California Sur on Friday. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 125 mph (205 kph) with higher gusts. Bud is now a category 3 hurricane on the

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.”

NHC noted that further weakening, possibly rapid at times, is expected over the next 48 hours. Bud is forecast to weaken below hurricane intensity by Wednesday night. However, Bud is forecast to still be a tropical storm when it approaches Baja California Sur on Thursday, June 14.

For updated forecasts on Bud, visit: