Last November, the GOES-16 satellite went from the Florida coast to a geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above Earth. It was a picture perfect night-time launch for the satellite.
GOES-16 is still in the testing phase, but that hasn’t stopped meteorologists and weather geeks all over from sharing its stunning images.
Many of us first heard about GOES-16 while Hurricane Harvey was barreling down on the Texas coast. One week later and it’s Hurricane Irma grabbing everyone’s attention. A Florida landfall is becoming more likely as each new tracking model run comes in. For many Caribbean islands, Irma’s winds will start being felt soon.
Right now, Hurricane Irma packs maximum sustained winds of 180 miles per hour. That’s well above Category 5 strength. And the latest GOES-16 loop shows a monster of a storm with a huge eye spinning towards the northern Caribbean islands.
You can see thunderstorms exploding in bands north of Irma’s center. It almost looks like the cloud tops are boiling.
Many meteorologists and NWS Twitter accounts post images and loops from GOES-16. Here’s one this morning from NWS Little Rock.
— NWS Little Rock (@NWSLittleRock) September 5, 2017
You can check out the loops and images yourself at this NOAA website. It might take a little bit for it to load, though. Seemed a little slow for me this morning.
UPDATE: Here’s another website with GOES-16 data. NASA SPoRT’s Twitter uses data from this website to post the many GIFs littering their feed. One posted earlier shows Saint-Martin and Anguilla taking a direct hit from Hurricane Irma.
— NASA SPoRT (@NASA_SPoRT) September 6, 2017
The ‘Loop of the Day’ page is also worth a look. Yesterday’s loop shows the extremes the U.S. is currently seeing. While Texas deals with the aftermath of 30+ inches of rain, wildfire smoke hangs across much of the western U.S.
Hurricane Irma is expected to pack a devastating punch. Folks in the Caribbean and Florida need to keep a close eye on this one and prepare for the worst.
GOES-16 goes operational in November
The non-operational data we see today will be operational come November. The satellite’s six instruments will help NOAA create new and improved weather products.
The second of four planned GOES satellites is undergoing a year’s long worth of tests at a Lockheed Martin facility in Colorado.