Perfectly circular, powerful Hurricane Celia spans hundreds of kilometres over the Pacific Ocean in this image from June 24, 2010. Rough-textured clouds surround the storm’s distinct eye, which has a diameter of roughly 25 kilometres. Farther from the centre of the storm, spiral arms appear thinner and smoother.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-colour image of Hurricane Celia at 1:55pm US Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on June 24, 2010. Just five minutes later, the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) classified Celia as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 215 kilometres per hour (135 miles per hour).
See the full-size image here (4MB, new window).
Celia continued to strengthen after this image was acquired. At 8:00pm PDT on June 24, 2010, the National Hurricane Centre reported that Celia had strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane. By 8:00am the following morning, Celia had weakened to a Category 4 storm, but it still had maximum sustained winds of 240 kilometres (150 miles) per hour, said the National Hurricane Centre.
On the morning of June 25, Celia was roughly 1,330 kilometres (825 miles) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. The National Hurricane Centre anticipated that Celia would continue to weaken as it tracked north and west across the Pacific Ocean. The storm was not forecast to come ashore over land.
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Text adapted from information issued by Michon Scott and Holli Riebeek.