The fifteenth tropical depression of the Atlantic Ocean season has formed in the south-central Caribbean Sea, and the GOES-13 satellite captured its swirling mass of clouds and showers in a visible image today. Watches and warnings are already up for Central America.
At 2 p.m. EDT today, Sept. 23, Tropical Depression 15 had maximum sustained winds near 35 mph. It was located about 485 miles east of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, near 13.9 North and 76.2 West. It was moving west at 15 mph, and had a minimum central pressure of 1007 millibars.
The government of Nicaragua has issued a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch from Puerto Cabezas northward to the border with Honduras, including the offshore islands. The government of Honduras has issued a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch from the Nicaragua/Honduras border westward to Limon including the offshore islands.
The latest satellite imagery from the GOES-13 satellite (the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) at 1445 UTC (10:45 a.m. EDT) on Sept. 23 shows Tropical Depression 15 as a rounded circulation in the south-central Caribbean. Tropical Depression 15 is also over very warm waters, well over the 80 degree Fahrenheit threshold needed to power a tropical cyclone. That means that it will have the fuel to strengthen, and the National Hurricane Center forecasts that it would become a tropical storm possibly within the next day.
GOES-13 is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and images are created by NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md.
Nicaragua, Honduras, eastern Guatemala, Belize and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula should all be making preparations for this storm.
Explore further: Radioisotope studies show the continental crust formed 3 billion years ago