2011 hurricane season: a satellite-image celebration! (PHOTOS)

Note: If you are having trouble seeing the gallery above, here's a direct link.

Meteorologists who pull their hair out each year making hurricane forecasts months in advance have repeatedly prophesied a very active hurricane season in 2011. (Not that it necessarily means more U.S. landfalls.) And true enough, on Wednesday, the first day of the season, a tropical disturbance mowed over Florida before leaping into the tepid Gulf waters. Says NASA of the seventh image in the series (go full screen to see all the dimples on the head of this beast):

The visible image from June 1 at 1445 UTC (10:45 a.m. EDT) has some shadows in the middle of the storm, which indicate that there are some towering, strong thunderstorms near the circulation center that are casting shadows onto the lower thunderstorms.

93L, as the low-pressure system is known, is one of two disturbances recently born in the Atlantic Basin. (Check the National Hurricane Center for the status of the second system, which at last check was spinning in place in the Caribbean.) 93L started off weak, with only a 30 percent chance of growing into a tropical cyclone, and on the evening of June 1 was weaker yet at a 20 percent chance. Still, it is leaving behind all kinds of cool, hallucinatory satellite images. Take a trip into the swirly heart of this juicy tropical rainmaker via the above gallery{ }– and pray there won't be too many more storms this year.