Cyclone Oli reaches category 4 strength on its way to open waters

Feb 04, 2010
An infrared AIRS image (from NASA's Aqua satellite) on Feb. 4 at 11:23 UTC (6:23 a.m. ET) showed that French Polynesia and Tahiti were on the outer edges of powerful Cyclone Oli. Purple indicates strong thunderstorms with heavy rainfall, and very high storms with cloud temperatures to -63F. Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen

Oli has exploded in strength and as of February 4 it was a Category 4 cyclone with peak sustained winds of 132 mph (115 knots/213 km/hr). NASA's Aqua and TRMM satellites observed Oli's clouds grow colder and rainfall become heavier over the last day. Residents of French Polynesia should watch for local weather advisories.

The Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite is like a rain gauge in space. It's managed by NASA and the Japanese Space Agency, and can measure rainfall in a cyclone from its orbit above the Earth. Yesterday, the TRMM satellite flew almost directly over Tropical Cyclone Oli and revealed that Oli had a large circulation and that its converging rain bands were causing additional rainfall in distant Bora Bora and Tahiti. In some areas of the storm, rain was falling at more than 2 inches (50 millimeters) per hour.

Earlier today, February 4, NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Oli and showed very high thunderstorm cloud tops, so high they were colder than -63F (-52C), and dropping heavy rainfall.

At 10 a.m. ET (1500 UTC) February 4, Tropical Cyclone Oli was located about 250 miles west-southwest of Bora Bora, ear 18.6 South and 152.4 West. Cyclone () force winds extend only to about 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the center. From there, winds extent out as far as 145 miles, so Bora Bora and Tahiti will likely experience breezy conditions and winds likely below tropical storm force (because they are farther out). Oli keeps moving south-southeast near 10 mph (9 knots/16 km/hr). Oli continues to cause very high seas, up to 23 feet (7 meters).

French Polynesia had not posted any warnings as of 12 p.m. ET on February 4 (17:00 UTC), but residents can expect dangerous surf and on-and-off showers and thunderstorms, some with heavy and gusty winds.

On February 4 during the morning hours (Eastern Time) sustained winds have been averaging about 30 mph (48 km/hr), and temperatures are hovering around 80F (29C). Earlier, some heavy rain was reported. For updated weather observations in Tahiti, go to: http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/current/NTAA.html.

Oli is expected to strengthen more until late in the day on February 5, then will start weakening. Oli is expected to transition into an extra-tropical system over the weekend.

Explore further: Asian monsoon much older than previously thought

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tropical Storm Oli kicking up waves in south Pacific

Feb 02, 2010

Tropical Storm Oli is headed between the islands of Bora Bora and Raratonga in the South Pacific, while maintaining its intensity as a tropical storm. Infrared satellite data from NASA's Aqua satellite reveals ...

Tropical Storm Oli forms in the southern Pacific

Feb 01, 2010

The twelfth tropical cyclone in the Southern Pacific Ocean has formed today, February 1, 2010, and because of its proximity to the Fiji islands, it has been dubbed "Oli." The GOES-11 satellite passed over Oli early this morning ...

Cyclone Cleo has reached its maximum wind speed

Dec 09, 2009

NASA Satellites noticed that Tropical Cyclone Cleo had reached its maximum strength, and was now moving into areas that will weaken it. Cleo's maximum sustained winds were near 115 mph (100 knots), with gusts ...

Cyclone Anja hits wind shear, weakens drastically

Nov 17, 2009

This morning, Cyclone Anja was a powerful Category 4 cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Wind shear has now giving Anja a strong "punch in the gut" as the storm has weakened to a Category 1 cyclone.

Recommended for you

Asian monsoon much older than previously thought

16 hours ago

The Asian monsoon already existed 40 million years ago during a period of high atmospheric carbon dioxide and warmer temperatures, reports an international research team led by a University of Arizona geoscientist.

Rules of thumb for climate change turned upside down

16 hours ago

With a new analysis of land regions, ETH climate researcher are challenging the general climate change paradigm that dry regions are getting drier and wet regions are getting wetter. In some regions they ...

Tropical Storm Odile taken on by two NASA satellites

Sep 12, 2014

As Tropical Storm Odile continues to affect Mexico's west coast and stir up dangerous surf, NASA's TRMM and Aqua satellites provided forecasters information on clouds and rainfall in the coast-hugging storm. ...

User comments : 0