NASA measures winds in Tropical Cyclone Victor

January 20, 2016 by Rob Gutro
NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured this image of Tropical Cyclone Victor in the South Pacific on Jan. 20 at 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST). Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

NASA's RapidScat instrument found the strongest winds in Tropical Cyclone Victor were occurring south of its center on Jan. 20, 2016. Imagery from NOAA's GOES-West satellite revealed that Victor still maintained hurricane-strength and an eye.

As Victor continues moving in a southerly direction a gale warning was posted for the island country of Niue. Tonga is located to the west and the Cook Islands to the east.

RapidScat is an instrument on the International Space Station that measures over oceans. On Jan. 20, 2016 at 2 a.m. EST, RapidScat saw Tropical Cyclone Victor's strongest winds south of the center at 34 meters per second (76 mph/122 kph).

At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST), Tropical Cyclone Victor had maximum sustained winds near 65 knots (75 mph/120.4 kph) so it was still maintaining status as a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. It was centered near 21.6 degrees south latitude and 168.9 degrees west longitude, about 360 nautical miles east of Tonga. Victor was moving to the west-southwest at 4 knots (4.6 mph/7.4 kph).

On Jan. 20, 2016 at 2 a.m. EST, RapidScat saw Tropical Cyclone Victor's strongest winds (red) south of the center at 34 meters per second (76 mph/122 kph). Credit: NASA JPL, Doug Tyler

NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an image of Tropical Cyclone Victor in the South Pacific on Jan. 20, 2016 at 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST) that showed the storm maintained an eye, and had powerful bands of thunderstorms around the center.

Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect Victor to weaken steadily over the next few days, before turning to the south and becoming extra-tropical.

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