Hurricane Christina was an impressive Category 4 storm on June 12, 2014 when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite passed overhead and captured this true-color image. The image shows a clear central eye surrounded by high clouds, along with the tight apostrophe shape common in major hurricanes. Rain bands extend over the coast of the states of Jalisco and Colima, Mexico, creating high surf with the potential for dangerous rip tides.
At 11 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. PDT) on June 12, Hurricane Cristina's maximum sustained winds were near 150 mph (240 km/h) (Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale) according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The location was reported as about 250 miles (400 km) southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, near latitude 16.6 north and longitude 107.1 west. Cristina was moving toward the west-northwest near 8 mph (13 km/h).
At that time, the NCH noted that Cristina had gone through an extraordinary, but not unprecedented, phase of rapid intensification from June 11 – June 12. Christina had formed as Tropical Depression Three-E on June 9, but slowly struggled to life until the early morning hours of June 11, when it first reached hurricane strength. In the next 24 hours, the storm’s maximum sustained winds increased by about 75 mph (120 km/h), raising it from a minimal Category 1 storm to a Category 4 – a very rapid jump in strength.
Once the storm reached peak strength, it began to slowly weaken. On June 13, Christina’s center passed close to Socorro Island, home to a Mexican naval station. According to The Weather Channel, an automated weather station on the island recorded sustained winds of 69 mph (111 km/h) with gusts to 87 mph (140 km/h) as the center made its closest approach that evening. On June 14, the NHC downgraded Christina to tropical storm status, and by the afternoon of June 15 the storm had become a remnant low.
Date Acquired: 6/12/2014
Resolutions: 1km (647.9 KB), 500m (2.2 MB), 250m (5.1 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC