In mid-August, 2012 the eighth Tropical Storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season strengthened over the seas east-southeast of Bermuda on its way to becoming the third and strongest hurricane of the Atlantic Season. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of Gordon on August 16 at 1425 UTC (10:15 a.m. UTC) at Tropical Storm strength. The storm became Hurricane Gordon on August 18.
In this image, the bulk of Gordon's clouds can be seen to the north and northeast of center, pushed there by southwesterly wind shear. It appears that higher, rounded clouds surrounded the center, where the most powerful thunderstorms were located. Outer bands of thunderstorms wrapping from the north to the east also contained higher, strong thunderstorms. Gordon continued to fight wind shear the next day, becoming even more asymmetric as it struggled to intensify.
On Friday, August 17, at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC) Gordon's maximum sustained winds were near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. At that time, Gordon was centered about 1,195 miles (1925 km) west of the Azores near latitude 34.6 north and longitude 48.1 west and was moving towards the east near 18 miles per hour (30 kilometers/hour).
By August 18, Gordon took advantage of more favorable conditions, and reached Hurricane status early in the day. Later that same day, Hurricane Gordon reached Category 2 strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
At 0300 UTC (11:00 p.m. EST) on August 18, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) advised that Gordon was located about 455 mi (730 km) west southwest of the Azores, moving rapidly eastward carrying maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 km/h). They report that Gordon will begin to move into cooler waters and into a high wind shear environment by late on August 19, and expect the storm to begin to weaken, although every model still predicts that Gordon will remain at Hurricane strength as is passes the Azores on August 20-21. It is expected that the storm will become extratropical on or near August 21.