Here's What Tropical Storm Isaias Looks Like From Space

In case you've ever wondered what a hurricane looks like from space, NASA has you covered. Through its NASA Hurricane account, the organization has shared photos of Hurricane Isaias taken with its satellites on Twitter.

#Isaias Landfall Late Last Night- The eye of Hurricane Isaias made landfall in southern North Carolina around 1110pm EDT (0310 UTC) on Mon. Aug. 3 near Ocean Isle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph/140 kph. NASA's Terra satellite took this 9 hrs, 40mins before landfall

— NASAHurricane (@NASAHurricane) August 4, 2020

The photo, posted on Tuesday morning, captures Isaias just hours before reaching land in North Carolina late on Monday night. The hurricane made landfall at 11:10 p.m. EDT according to NASA's tweet. NASA has shared other satellite-captured images of Isaias throughout the storm's development, providing updates on it.

No.Atlantic- NASA Puts Visible and Water Vapor Eyes on Tropical Storm #Isaias
NASA’s Aqua satellite obtained visible and water vapor imagery as Tropical Storm Isaias continued moving along the east coast of Florida.

— NASAHurricane (@NASAHurricane) August 3, 2020

NASA Satellites Show a Weaker Tropical Storm #Isaias
NASA’s Aqua satellite provided visible and infrared views of Isaias and found the storm a little more disorganized–an indication that it had weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm.

— NASAHurricane (@NASAHurricane) August 2, 2020

North Atlantic- Isaias in the Bahamas, TD10 Dissipates and a New System Forms
NOAA's GOES-East satellite provided an image of all three systems.

— NASAHurricane (@NASAHurricane) August 2, 2020

On Monday, NASA wrote that its satellites managed to capture "visible and water vapor imagery." While passing over the storm at around 3:45 a.m. EDT, the satellite "found highest concentrations of water vapor and coldest cloud top temperatures were offshore and mostly north and northeast of the center," according to the post.

The NASA Hurricane page manager Rob Gutro explained how NASA uses different technology to research storms and how it's used by other organizations like the National Hurricane Center. "That was just before it reached hurricane strength and made landfall. What we do here at NASA is we have a fleet of satellites that circle the earth and all of them can be used to monitor different aspects of tropical cyclones. We look at tropical cyclones in a number of ways, and we do it in terms of research purposes, and we share this data with forecasters at the National Hurricane Center," Gutro told Newsweek.

Gutro broke down how different technology is used to gather information about tropical storms and cyclones. "We have a number of different ways we look at it. We of course provide visible imagery, which shows the size and extent of the storm and how far it is and the shape of the storm, because tropical storms aren't really uniform in their structure. There's always a stronger side, usually it's the Northeastern side. The visible imagery also lets us see the eye, whether or not the eye is cloud-filled and so-forth," he said.

"We also look at infrared imagery, infrared imagery is really, extremely helpful, because what that does is, it gives us the temperature of the cloud tops, and looking at cloud tops temperatures: the higher the clouds go in the troposphere, the colder they are. The colder they are and higher they are, the stronger the uplift, the stronger the storm. NASA research has shown that cloud top temperatures in storms that are colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit have the potential to generate heavy rainfall," he said. "These storms are not always circular in nature. [There's] always some areas that may have heavier rainfall or colder cloud top temperatures than other areas. That's important for the forecasts, when they're trying to put together rainfall forecasts. So they need to know where the heaviest rain will fall."

Gutro also said that NASA uses scatterometer data to track winds. "Scatterometer data can measure the winds over the surface of the ocean using satellite," Gutro said. "National Hurricane Center forecasters can tell where the strongest winds are. As a matter of fact, yesterday, when the National Hurricane Center put out a forecast, they said the strongest winds were over the Atlantic Ocean. They were over on the Eastern side of the storm."

Gutro also said that water vapor content and was used to "get temperature data from water vapor." He explained, "The higher the clouds, the colder they are, the stronger they are in terms of storms." He also said NASA uses microwave data to "peer through clouds and we can see an eye developing under a cloud shield."

A public advisory from the NHC has placed storm surge warnings in effect for Pamlico Sound, Albemarle Sound and Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for North of Surf City North Carolina to Eastport Maine, Pamlico Sound, Albemarle Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Tidal Potomac River, Delaware Bay, Long Island, Long Island Sound, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Block Island.

NASA posts updates on its Hurricane page.

A visible image of Isaias captured by NASA hours before the storm made landfall in North Carolina. Courtesy of NASA