Converging Satellites Unlock Hurricane Lili's Sudden Demise

Geosystems Research Institute
February 2, 2006

Story PhotoFindings from a research study on Hurricane Lili and her unexpected, rapid weakening were presented at the 86th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Atlanta, Georgia. The research was conducted by researchers from Mississippi State University (MSU), Mississippi State, Miss., and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colo.

The study, led by Dr. Pat Fitzpatrick, GRI's hurricane expert, focused on the rapid weakening of Hurricane Lili over the Gulf of Mexico beginning early on Oct. 3, 2002. During this time span, Hurricane Lili rapidly weakened from a category 4 to a category 1 storm before making landfall in Louisiana. Operational computer models failed to predict this rapid weakening.

Story PhotoUsing a fleet of NASA and other satellites as well as aircraft and other observations, scientists were able to unlock the secret of Hurricane Lili's unexpected, rapid weakening as she churned toward a Louisiana landfall in 2002. The data from multiple satellites enabled researchers to see dry air move into the storm's low levels, partially explaining why Lili weakened rapidly.

For more information, please visit the feature story presented by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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