NASA sees Tropical Storm 04W's thunderstorms grow quickly

May 21, 2011
This TRMM satellite 3-D image shows that some thunderstorm towers near TSO4W's center of circulation were punching up to heights of over 16 km (~9.9 miles) above the ocean's surface. Credit: Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

Tropical Storm 04W formed from the low pressure System 98W this morning in the northwestern Pacific. NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite watched the towering thunderstorms in the center of the tropical storm grow to almost 10 miles (16 km) high as it powered up quickly.

At 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT) on May 20, Tropical Storm 04W (TS04W) was located 180 miles (290 km) east-southeast of Yap near 8.3 North and 141.9 East. It had near 35 knots (40 mph/65 kmh). On its west-northwest track it is already generating rough seas, with waves up to 12 feet (~3.6 meters) high.

The TRMM satellite flew over rapidly forming Tropical Storm 04W in the western Pacific on May 20, 2011 at 0037 UTC (~10:37 a.m. Local time). This daylight TRMM pass showed that TS04W was becoming much better organized. The TRMM data showed that TSO4W now contained several areas of heavy thunderstorms dropping rain at over ~2 inches/hour (50 mm/hour).

Using TRMM data, Hal Pierce of NASA's TRMM satellite team created a 3-D image of Tropical Storm 04W at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The 3-D perspective image helps forecasters see the cloud heights within , giving indications of the storm's strength. The higher the thunderstorms go into the atmosphere, the stronger they are.

The 3-D image was created using data from TRMM's (PR). It showed that some thunderstorm towers near TSO4W's center of circulation were punching up to heights of over 9.9 miles (16 km) above the ocean's surface.

Regional warnings have been posted for TS04W. A tropical is in force for Fais and Ulithi in Yap State. That means that winds of 40 mph (65 kmh) or higher are expected within 24 hours in the warning area. In addition, a tropical storm watch is in force for Yap and Ngulu in Yap State. The watch means that in 48 hours, those areas could experience winds of 40 mph (65 kmh) or higher.

Now, Tropical Storm 04W is on a west-northwesterly track and residents of the northern Philippines should be on guard as it heads in that direction. The current forecast track from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center extends to May 25 and it is not yet expected to be close enough to land at that time. However, in the days after May 25 residents of Luzon, the Philippines may experience the effects of the approaching (which is expected to strengthen by that time).

This storm is predicted to become a category 2 typhoon with wind speeds of 90 knots (~103 mph/166 kmh) within five days as it moves toward the west-northwest.

Explore further: NASA sees developing Tropical Storm Halong causing warning

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tropical Depression 02W forms in northwestern Pacific

Mar 22, 2010

The second tropical depression of the northwestern Pacific tropical cyclone season has formed and is currently located about 235 miles east-southeast of Yap, Micronesia. NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared, ...

NASA's TRMM Satellite sees Zelia born of System 94P

Jan 14, 2011

The low pressure area known as System 94P on January 13 strengthened into the seventh tropical cyclone of the South Pacific Cyclone season, today becoming Tropical Storm Zelia. NASA's TRMM satellite found ...

Recommended for you

Huge waves measured for first time in Arctic Ocean

13 hours ago

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water which is predicted to extend across the whole Arctic Ocean before the middle ...

New research reveals Pele is powerful, even in the sky

19 hours ago

One might assume that a tropical storm moving through volcanic smog (vog) would sweep up the tainted air and march on, unchanged. However, a recent study from atmospheric scientists at the University of Hawai'i ...

Image: Wildfires continue near Yellowknife, Canada

19 hours ago

The wildfires that have been plaguing the Northern Territories in Canada and have sent smoke drifting down to the Great Lakes in the U.S. continue on. NASA's Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image ...

User comments : 0