Satellite That Tracks Atlantic Weather Systems Fails on Eve of Hurricane Season Start Leaving Much of the East Coast and Caribbean in the Dark

This composite satellite image from Sunday shows a lack of data from GOES-13 over the east coast of the U.S. 
(CIMSS Satellite Blog)
Things don’t always go as planned and that certainly was the case recently when  the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lost its major weather satellite, the GOES-13 (GOES- East) satellite, which was responsible for tracking weather conditions over most of the eastern North America, the Atlantic Ocean (including the Virgin Islands) all the way over to the easternmost part of the Atlantic just west of the African coast as depicted below:
Normally, this wide shot of the Atlantic would cover all the way to the Africa and Europe coasts.

As of this time the cause of the technical failure is still unknown but, understanding the importance of having functioning weather satellites in the Atlantic during hurricane season, NOAA jumped into action and repositioned a back-up satellite, GOES-14, which was activated earlier this week to fill part of the void left to satellite imagery in eastern North America and the Atlantic.
Normally, this wide shot of the Atlantic would cover all the way to the Africa and Europe coasts. While better than nothing, the substitute is not perfect. Images on the eastern edge of view, over the eastern Atlantic, are distorted because of the position of the temporary replacement satellite farther west.

GOES-14 will remain the primary GOES satellite over the Atlantic basin and Continental U.S. until the imager and sounder data issues on GOES-13 can be fully diagnosed and hopefully fixed. NOAA maintains backup GOES satellites in case unforeseen events occur, providing full redundancy for monitoring severe weather over the U.S. and its territories.

The image from GOES-14, while acting as GOES East, taken May 30:

Goes 14 stands in for the Goes 13 Satellite
If you are interested in understanding more about the satellites that are our eyes in the sky check out the NOAA website. You can keep up-to-date on the status of the Goes -13 satellite. Fingers crossed that we will have a very slow and quiet start of hurricane season which officially starts on June 1 (and runs through November 30). 
If you want to stay on top of the weather in the  Caribbean during this hurricane season two of my favorite Caribbean tropical storm tracking websites are:

By the way, don’t let hurricane season deter you from a trip to the Caribbean. The weather is generally wonderful (St John averages 85 degrees year round!) and often cooler than many stateside locations.  Summer time is often when beaches and restaurants are less crowded (although crowded is not a word often used on laid-back St John) and villa prices are less than during the height of winter season. 

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