NASA sees Super-typhoon Lekima ready to make the curve

Oct 24, 2013
NASA's Terra satellite image on Oct. 23 at 00:25 clearly showed Lekima's 20 nautical mile/23 mile/37 km-wide-eye with bands of thunderstorms wrapping tightly into the center of circulation. Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Super-typhoon Lekima is poised to "make the curve" in the northwestern Pacific Ocean today. The storm's track is expected to shift from a northwesterly direction, and curve to northeasterly direction because it has started encountering mid-latitude westerly winds and a trough. NASA's Terra satellite captured an image of Lekima just before it began its directional shift.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of Super-typhoon Lekima in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean on Oct. 24 at 0105 UTC/Oct. 23 at 9:05 p.m. EDT as it ran into an elongated area of low pressure from the west, as well as mid-latitude westerlies and . Those factors started to elongate the system and change the 's direction. The MODIS image showed a well- defined eye, about 25 nautical miles/28.7 miles/46.3 km wide and a thick eyewall of powerful thunderstorms around it.

On Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. EDT/1500 UTC, Super-typhoon Lekima's maximum sustained winds were near 130 knots/149 mph/240.8 kph. It was centered near 23.2 north and 145.4 east, about 274 nautical miles/315 miles/ 507 km east-southeast of Iwo To. Lekima was still traveling to the northwest at 14 knots/16.1 mph/25.9 kph toward the Japanese Island of Iwo To, but it is expected to curve and head toward the northeast in the next day.

Lekima is a powerful storm and is generating very rough seas. Wave heights are near 45 feet/13.7 meters, and those waves are propagating toward Iwo To.

Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that as Lekima moves northeast it will get embedded in the mid-latitude westerly winds. Cooler sea surface temperatures and increasing wind shear will weaken the storm, and it will become extra-tropical in a couple of days.

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