Maritime Storm: What can satellite images tell us?
CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell explains how this storm is different from a hurricane
Meteorologists make use of many tools to assess the strength of powerful weather systems and one of the most useful — especially when dealing with a storm that is over the ocean and away from radar coverage — is satellite imagery.
This is a satellite shot from this morning, examining the powerful nor'easter moving past the Maritimes.
Notice how tightly curled — or spiralled — into the centre of the storm the cloud cover is, almost forming something that is visibly similar to the eye wall of a hurricane.
This is an indication of a storm with a very low central pressure and the lower the central pressure of a storm, the more powerful it is.
It should be noted that the "eye" — or more accurately, the spiral pattern — seen in an extratropical cyclone such as a nor'easter is formed by the powerful circulation around the system, as opposed to the intense convection that helps to develop the eye wall of hurricanes.
They look similar on satellite, but they are two different processes.