Tropical Storm Ophelia gathered strength and size off the Atlantic Coast of Florida for several days. During this time, it brought winds and rain over a growing area including the Florida coast, though the storm’s center remained offshore. By September 8, it briefly reached hurricane strength, though this status lasted only a few hours before the storm lost some intensity and was again classified as a tropical storm. It is unusual for a storm system to build just offshore in this fashion, especially as having rain bands over land tends to break up the storm formation. It is also unusual to have so many storms in such a short time: the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season looks likely to go into the record books as the most active season on record yet. Ophelia is the earliest “O” named storm since the storm naming system was devised.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image at 2:15 p.m. local time, on September 8, 2005. At that time, Ophelia had peak sustained wind speeds of around 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour).
The large image provided above has a spatial resolution of 250 meters per pixel. It is available in additional resolutions from the MODIS Rapid Response Team.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.