GOES-6 was NOAA‘s operational satellite during the 1983 Hurricane Raymond, which was a Cat 4. This incredibly powerful storm was made famous in the 1998 book “Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea” written by Tami Oldham Ashcraft with Susea McGearhart, and also by the 2018 movie “Adrift”.
“[October 12, 1983]… About 1000 the seas arched into skyscrapers, looming over our boat. The anemometer– the wind speed gauge — now read a steady sixty knots [69 mph or 31 m/s] and we were forced to take down all sails and maintain our position under bare poles with the engine running … The wind sounded like jet engines being thrown in reverse. I looked at the anemometer and gasped when I read 140 knots [161 mph or 72 m/s] … I looked up at the ship’s clock: It was 1300 hours. My eyes dropped to the barometer: It was terrifyingly low — below twenty-eight-inch mark [948 hPa]. Dread engulfed me. I hugged the musty blanket to my chest as I was flung side to side in the hammock. No sooner had I closed my eyes when all motion stopped. Something felt very wrong, it became too quiet — this trough too deep. “OHMIGOD!” I heard Richard scream. My eyes popped open. WHOMP! I covered my head as I sailed into oblivion.”
From the book: Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea
The above GOES-6 infrared satellite loop has been annotated with two approximate locations of the boat (Hazana), one of October 9th and the other on October 18th, 1983. While the location of the boat (in beige) on October 12th and it’s relationship to Hurricane Raymond is unknown, the boat must have received the brunt of the storm. A similar loop as above, but without the labels or grid lines. Or an image with only the grid lines and boat locations.
Infrared (IR) imagery can monitor the storm throughout the day and night. Recall that a smaller hurricane eye can imply a more powerful storm.
…. “A tropical wave, later to become Hurricane Raymond, passed into the Pacific from Nicaragua on 5 October and moved westward at 8 m s-1. At this time, a deep-layer mean high center was over Mexico and a well developed ridge line extended westward toward the Hawaiian Islands. By 0600 GMT 8 October, infrared satellite imagery showed increasing cyclonic shear over the disturbance, and the first advisory on the cyclone was issued with the center near 12.4°N, 104.4°W. The depression moved due west at 2 m s-1, south of the mean ridge line, and over very warm 29-30°C water. Intensification to tropical storm occurred at 0000GMT9Octobernear 12.3°N, 106.4°W. Tropical Storm Raymond continued moving west, accelerated and intensified. By 1200 GMT l 0 October, winds had reached 34 m s-1 and the storm was upgraded to a hurricane near· 12.0°N, 114.6°W. Raymond was now moving west at 8 m s-1 and a small but distinct eye had become visible near the center. Raymond then began to intensify rapidly (Fig. 22). Twenty-four hours later, the cyclone reached its maximum intensity of 64 m s-1 [143 mph] near 12.4°N, 121.2°W. Raymond then turned west-northwest, moving at 8 to 9 m s-1. With sea surface temperatures remaining above 27°C, Raymond moved across 140°W longitude with 57 m s-1 winds shortly after 0600 GMT on 14 October.“
According to E. B. GUNTHER AND R. L. CROSS (1984) in the AMS MWR (Monthly Weather Review)
2020 – Hurricane Marie
Another long-lived eastern Pacific category 4 storm was Hurricane Marie in 2020 as detailed by NHC. Of course the more modern GOES-17 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) was able to acquire images more frequently and at a higher spatial resolution than was possible in 1983, as in shown in this CIMSS Satellite Blog post.
2021 – Hurricane Linda
NOAA GOES-6 data (and other GOES) are via the University of Wisconsin-Madison SSEC Satellite Data Services. These images were made using the McIDAS-X software, developed at the UW/SSEC. Thanks for all who have made the entire suite of GOES possible, as well as the experimental satellites that preceded the operational ones. Much progress has been made in the monitoring of tropical cyclones between GOES-5/6 and the current advanced imagers. More GOES-16 and -17 imagery and other information. Scott Bachmeier is thanked for his help with this post.