The tenth tropical depression in the Southern Pacific Ocean has strengthened overnight and has been dubbed "Tropical Storm Nisha" and NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission has watched the storm's precipitation increase since yesterday.
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite is managed by both NASA and the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA. At 11:35 UTC (6:35 a.m. ET) today, January 28, TRMM flew over Nisha and captured an image of the storm's rainfall. The storm has strengthened quickly and there are many areas within the storm that have rainfall rates of over 2 inches per hour. TRMM also noticed that the highest cloud heights on the thunderstorms on the northeast quadrant of the storm are as high as 6 miles (10 kilometers).
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) forecasts for storms in this region. JTWC noted that animated infrared imagery and a microwave image from the TRMM satellite shows that the low has become more organized over the last 12 hours.
At 10 a.m. ET today, January 28, Tropical Storm Nisha had maximum sustained winds near 57 mph (50 knots) with higher gusts. It was located about 450 nautical miles southeast of Pago Pago, American Samoa, near 19.4 South and 164.5 West. It was moving east-southeast near 18 mph (16 knots).
Nisha is expected to move east-southeast and remain over warm waters that will help the storm maintain intensity or strengthen. The sea surface temperatures in the vicinity are warmer than 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit).
Nisha has spawned some warnings in the region. A tropical cyclone warning is up for Palmerston Island and the rest of the South Cook Islands. Forecasters note that French Polynesia could be affected by the weekend.
Explore further: NASA balloons begin flying in Antarctica for 2014 campaign