NOAA's GOES-West satellite caught the birth of Tropical Storm Mike in the Southern Pacific Ocean on March 19. Mike's formation has generated warnings for the Southern Cook Islands.
NOAA's GOES-West or GOES-15 satellite captured an infrared image of newborn Tropical Storm Mike in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean on March 19 at 1200 UTC/8 a.m. EDT. Mike appeared to be a compact, rounded tropical storm with bands of thunderstorms wrapping into it. NOAA's GOES-West satellite sits in a fixed orbit in space capturing visible and infrared imagery of all weather over the western U.S. and Pacific Ocean.
To create a GOES image NASA/NOAA's GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. uses cloud data from NOAA's GOES-East satellite and overlays it on a true-color image of land and ocean created by data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. Together, those data create the picture of the weather over the Pacific Ocean and Tropical Cyclone Mike's location.
According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center or JTWC, animated infrared satellite imagery showed that the consolidated low level circulation center has persistent central convection (developing thunderstorms) and broken displaced convection to the northwest and southeast of the center.
On March 19 at 0900 UTC/5 a.m. EDT, Tropical Cyclone Mike was located near 20.5 south latitude and 159.3 west longitude. That's about 751 nautical miles/864.2 miles/1,391 miles east-southeast of Pago Pago, American Samoa. Mike was moving to the south-southeast at a speedy 24 knots/27.6 mph/44.4 kph. Mike's maximum sustained winds were near 35 knots/40 mph/62 kph.
JTWC noted that Mike is a threat to the Cook Islands. As a result, there are warnings in effect for the Southern Cook Islands. A gale warning is in effect for Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Manuae, Takutea, Atiu, Matiaro, Mauke and Mangaia.
JTWC forecasters expect Mike to move quickly to the south-southeast and strengthen to 45 knots/51.7 mph/83.3 kph before running into conditions that will make it extra-tropical in two days.
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