Satellite Observations of Hurricane Elena (1985) Using the VAS 6.7-<IMG border="0" src="/charent/GREEK/UNACCENTED/LOWERCASE/mu.gif">m "Water-Vapor" Channel.
Satellite imagery from the VISSR (Visible Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer) Atmospheric Sounder (VAS) 6.7-m water-vapor absorption band is normally available to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in real time (half-hourly intervals, 16 hours a day) through a remote Man-computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS) workstation located in the forecast canter. Synoptic features that are not readily apparent in "visible" imagery or "11-m-infrared" imagery are often well defined in the VAS "water-vapor" imagery with the help of special enhancement software that exists on McIDAS. A good example is Hurricane Elena (1985). Its erratic path in the Gulf of Mexico was responsible for the evacuation of nearly a million people in low-lying coastal areas during a three-day period. Imagery from the VAS 6.7-m water-vapor channel clearly shows the interaction of a midlatitude trough with the hurricane, and supports other evidence that suggests this was responsible for altering Elena's course.