Main U.S. Weather Satellite Fails, GOES-13 Failure Equals Trouble For East Coast Hurricane Season

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May 23, 2013 9:54 PM EST

Just on the brink of hurricane season, the U.S. is facing a major issue in the way of predicting possible storms in the upcoming months after the failure of one of the country’s main weather satellites this week. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, also known as GOES-13, reportedly ceased to operate as of Tuesday, making it impossible to predict weather patterns on the East Coast.

According to Accuweather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is unable to receive images from the satellite. USA Today reported Wednesday that the failure of GOES-13 is making it next to impossible to predict weather trends in its designated locations, the East Coast and the tropical Atlantic Ocean.

With less than one month away from the start of the official Hurricane Season on June 1, and less than one year since the East Coast was ravaged by super storm Sandy, destroying countless homes and businesses, meteorologists are reportedly concerned over the satellite’s inability to correctly forecast potentially dead storms.

“[This is] not good on the verge of hurricane season,” said J. Marshall Shepherd, a research meteorologist at the University of Georgia.

According to, the NOAA utilized GOES-15, majorly used to cover West Coat weather patterns, as a temporary satellite following Tuesday’s disturbance. In response to the satellite failure, NOAA is reportedly activating GOES-14 as early as Thursday, USA Today confirming that if the backup satellite fails, options will be limited in forecasting upcoming floods, thunderstorms and hurricanes.

“[These] are key instruments for meteorologists to provide watches and warnings for these dangerous weather phenomena,” said Sosnowski. reported that GOES-13 was first put into orbit after many failed launch attempts in 2006 and was expected to remain in operation until 2015.

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