National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Atlantic Hurricane Season Satellite and Radar Imagery Animations
Explained.

Prepared by:
Donovan Landreneau, Meteorologist (Senior Forecaster)

This webpage explains where the data came from and how it was transferred to create the animations. Click here to go back to the animations page. 

The Atlantic Hurricane Season Satellite and Radar Imagery Animations webpage contains all the Atlantic Tropical Storms and Hurricanes Affecting the United States and seasonal Atlantic Hurricane Season GOES Satellite Imagery animations since 1995.  Also included are radar animations of select United States landfalling hurricanes from 1979-1992, Hurricane Season Satellite Animations from 1971-1973 & 1976-1986, and early radar animations of Hurricane Audrey: June 26-27, 1957.

This webpage provides the links of the animations organized by year, and individual storm’s satellite and radar animations. These animations are available through the National Weather Service YouTube  page.

The 1995-2018 animations were converted from the Satellite and Radar Imagery Movies of Atlantic Hurricane Seasons on DVD project the author created during the years 2002-2018. The file size varies by length and content.  Since these videos were originally created for and transferred from DVD, all are Standard Definition (DVD quality) with dimensions of 640x480 and a bit rate of 8000 kbps.  Due to restrictions of YouTube, the videos are reprocessed with a bit rate closer to 2500 kbps, resulting in a slightly “grainier” appearance than the original DVDs and converted files.  The full resolution videos might be possible with another host site.

Atlantic Tropical Storms and Hurricanes Affecting the United States: A Satellite and Radar Study

These animations chronicle the tropical cyclones that affected the United States each season. The GOES-East satellite imagery used is 4 kilometer resolution (Infrared & Visible since 1995, GeoColor since 2018), 2 kilometer resolution (Infrared since 2019), and 1 kilometer resolution (Visible since 2002, GeoColor since 2018). The radar used is land based National Weather Service WSR-88D radar imagery in the areas affected.

Beginning with the 2019 Hurricane Season (2018 coming soon), the animations are in High Definition, using the 1920x1080 & 1280x720 resolution formats. These animations are upgraded versions of the Standard Definition 640x480 resolution format animations uploaded in previous seasons.

The table layout shows all the animations available, one table per Atlantic Hurricane Season. The title has a link to the specific YouTube playlist for that season, followed by the satellite and radar animations available (all linked to YouTube) for that particular year. The storm names are linked to the National Hurricane Center's Tropical Cyclone Reports for further information on that particular storm.

The satellite animations from 1995-2001 were created using data from NOAA Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS).  Note: There are intermittent data voids in the animations from 1995-2001 due to possible archiving and data retrieval issues, resulting in some “choppy” animations.  The satellite animations from 2002-2017 were created using data from GOES Project Science (now Out of Service). These GOES 8-14 satellite animations are 10 frames per second, with the time interval of 15 minutes when available.  GOES-East imagery after December 18, 2017 was obtained from NOAA Star GOES Image Viewer. The GOES 16 satellite animations are 30 frames per second, with the time interval of 5 minutes when available.  Being only an image animation, no audio was created.

The radar animations from 2002-2005 were created using imagery generated in real time from National Weather Service Headquarters and archived at the National Weather Service Southern Region Headquarters.  The radar animations from 1995-2001, 2006-2019 were created using data from the National Centers for Environmental Information, formerly the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)​, using the Weather and Climate Toolkit.  For the sake of speeding up the radar imagery and reducing file size, the converted WSR-88D imagery was sped up to 30 frames per second.  Being only an image animation, no audio was created.

Atlantic Hurricane Season GOES Infrared Satellite Imagery

These animations present a chronological succession of half hourly GOES-East Infrared Satellite Imagery for the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico for the years 1995-2019. Within these animations, the names of all the tropical cyclones appear near the formation location.  The 1995-2018 animations are 15 frames per second, with the 2019 animation being 30 frames per second.  Being only an image animation, no audio was created.

1995-1999, & 2018 animations were created using half hour interval GOES-East infrared satellite imagery from the NOAA Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS).  Note: There are intermittent data voids in the animations from 1995-1999 (most notable void from July 25 to September 19, 1997) due to possible archiving and data retrieval issues, resulting in some “choppy” animations.  2000-2017 animations were created using half hour interval GOES infrared satellite imagery from the Geostationary Satellite Server. The 2019 animation was created using 10 minute interval GOES-East infrared satellite imagery from the NOAA Star GOES Image Viewer

1971-1973 Atlantic Hurricane Seasons Applications Technology Satellite III Visible Imagery​
1976-1986 Hurricane Season Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Infrared Imagery


These animations present a chronological succession of Applications Technology Satellite III Visible Imagery​ from 1971-1973 and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) infrared imagery from 1976-1986 for the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico (except 1978 that uses GOES-West for the Eastern Pacific movie).  The original source of these movies was 16 mm films which National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) transferred to VHS tapes. The author transferred these VHS tapes to DV tape, then to DVD and the following animations. This would explain some of the resolution loss, especially with the 1980 animation, which came from a second generation VHS copy. No audio was found with these films.

Hurricane Audrey Radar: June 26-27, 1957

These animations present rare land-based radar imagery of Hurricane Audrey June 26-27, 1957. The original source was a 16 mm film made directly from photographs of the Plan Position Indicator (PPI) scopes of WSR-(1-3) radars from Galveston, Houston, Beaumont, Lake Charles, and Baton Rouge. The author used a 16mm projector to display the movie on the screen while recording it with a DV camcorder, then transferring it to DVD and the following animations. No audio was found with this film.