Dense storm bands filled with very heavy rain swirl around the distinct eye of Hurricane Igor shortly after the storm attained Category 4 Hurricane status. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) the eye measured approximately 23 miles (37 km) wide and sported an intense inner core ring of -80°C cloud top temperatures on September 12, 2010, near the time that this true-color image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite. Icy cold cloud tops and very heavy rainfall indicate a very powerful storm.
On the afternoon of September 12, Hurricane Igor was located about 1,120 mi (1,800 km) east of the northern Leeward Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 135 mph (215 km/hour). According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, Category 4 Hurricanes have a wind speed of 131 – 155 mph (210 – 249 km/hr), and are strong enough to cause “catastrophic damage”. Fortunately, Hurricane Igor currently spins deep in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean and poses no imminent threat to land.
The storm continued as a strong Category 4 Hurricane on September 13, but winds speed had strengthened to maximum sustained of 150 mph (240 km/hr). Conditions are predicted to remain favorable for maintaining this intensity for the next 48 hours, after which a slow weakening should begin.
The storm continues to travel due west, 270 degrees, at 9 knots, and a turn towards the west-northwest is expected in the next 12 hours. The location is about 880 miles west of the Leeward Islands, and no land lies in the immediate predicted path, but the storm may pass close to Bermuda in about 5 days. The National Hurricane Center predicts that large swells will begin affecting the Leeward Islands by September 14, 2010 and reach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands the following day.
In Haiti, the country’s Civil Protection Agency has declared an “orange alert”, warning that several regions could be flooded. The government is also making plans to relocate thousands of people who remain in flood-prone displaced persons shelters after losing their homes following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that ravaged the country on January 12, 2010.