- TD 16 was upgraded to TS Ophelia with circulation center roughly due east of Ft. Lauderdale. Ophelia was not well organized without an obvious eye. Most of the convection is located on the northern half of the storm. There was a band of convection extended from N to NE to SE and became the main target for RAINEX. Ophelia presents an opportunity to study how TD organizes its convection into a coherent eyewall. NOAA 42 was tasked by NHC for an invest mission into Ophelia to identify its center and took off at 12:30 pm. NRL P3 took off at 2:30 pm on a RAINEX mission to sample the rainband east side of Ophelia. This band was outside the range of coastal WSR-88D coverage so NRL P3 was prepared to fly in the clear air region outside convection. The flight track for NOAA 42 and NRL P3 can be found on EOL website: http://catalog.eol.ucar.edu/cgi-bin/catalog/rainex/research/date_browse?dateUTC=20050906 under flight track products, then click on the images or movie loop under xy3_radar_sat. An example is attached in this email. NRL P3 flew SE via Miami, then NE via Bahama, arrived east side of the target about 1940 UTC. Problems with Iridium had prevented normal chat communications and receiving images from Ops center before 1930. We used Iridium phone to call Ops center to get the hexagon flight pattern setup with the first point at 26.6N/77.4W. The objective was to circle around the two MCSs.The first dropsonde was released at 1948 after the plane cleared islands. NRL P3 maintained a N-bound leg keeping convection about 30 km W of the plane by dodging cells along the way. NRL P3 adjusted its track several times to move closer to convection. After reached the SW corner of the box pattern, Ops center set up an E-W leg for NRL P3 alone the south side of the MCS. NRL P3 flew within 10 km from the southern edge of the MCS and collected 3 passes of data before we return to Tampa. The MCS itself moved northward. Most active convection reached 15 km and bowing of the line was evident. The mission was 4 hours long. A total of 13 sondes were dropped every 10 min from 1948 UTC. Other than several ELDORA dropouts (~1-2 min each time) and constant battle with Iridium, all systems on board ran well. Iridium came back and performed better for about 1 hour when John paid close attention to the phone. The battery and signal strength were not the source of the problem.
ELDORA Images for this Flight:
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