What is wind shear? See it in action tearing Lane apart

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What gets Justin Cruz excited? Science!

Justin did a Facebook Live to show you what he calls the “best satellite image to date” showing wind shear in action.

Wind shear is why hurricanes get shredded apart around the islands, and the imagery allows him to show you wind shear in action.

“Wind shear is the variation of the wind’s speed or direction over a short distance within the atmosphere. For tropical cyclones, wind shear is important primarily in the vertical direction, as these storms occupy a large vertical slice of the atmosphere from sea level to the top of the troposphere, which extends up to about 40,000 feet altitude in the tropics in summer.” – AOML NOAA

Shear is a very good word to describe it because you take shears and you just slice something in half. That’s what’s happening to Lane.

Visual satellites can only be seen during the daylight hours. If we were to do this at midnight or at three o’clock in the morning, it just be a blank black screen.

You also need to be close to where a satellite is taking images, which is perfect if the storm is near a place like the Hawaiian Islands.

The radar image shows the swirling clouds that are what’s left of the tropical storm.

But because we have winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere going from west to east, the top level of the system is being blown out to the east.

You can see all of the high clouds blown out to the east while Lane continues to move to the west.

Justin says he remembers seeing something similar with Hurricane Flossie, which happen near the Big Island. But he got excited when he saw it again with Lane because it’s not something that we get to see very often.

He wanted to share the moment where we have a tropical system getting chopped in half by upper level winds, and seeing clouds moving to the east as the lower core of the system keeps moving west.

During the hurricane coverage we’ve been doing, Justin often talks about wind shear, But it’s very difficult to explain what it is without visual representation of it happening.

This is something Justin wants you to remember so the next time we talk about wind shear, you’ll know what it looks like.

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