NASA's Terra satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Storm Vongfong in the western Pacific Ocean on Oct. 3 at 00:30 UTC. Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

NASA's Terra satellite spotted the birth of Tropical Storm Vongfong in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean on Oct. 3. Vongfong is the nineteenth tropical storm of the Northwestern Pacific typhoon season.

The MODIS or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument that flies aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Vongfong on Oct. 3 at 00:30 UTC (Oct. 2 at 8:30 p.m. EDT). At the time of the image, the center of Tropical Storm Vongfong was located just to the northeast of Pohnpei, one of four states in the Federated States of Micronesia. The image showed that Pohnpei was covered by Vongfong's southwestern quadrant.

Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that animated enhanced showed fragmented bands of thunderstorms wrapping into the slowly-consolidating low-level circulation center. There was also a weak eye feature seen in microwave .

On Oct. 3 at 1500 (11 a.m. EDT) Tropical Storm Vongfong had maximum sustained winds near 40 knots (46 mph/74 kph) At that time, Vongfong's center was near 9.1 north latitude and 157.0 east longitude. The center of Tropical Storm Vongfong was located about 786 nautical miles (904 miles/1,456 km) east-southeast of Saipan. Vongfang had tracked west-northwestward at 11 knots (12.6 mph /20.3 kph).

Vongfong is expected to continue moving west-northwestward through Micronesia, toward the northern Marianas islands. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center expects Vongfong to gradually intensify to a typhoon as it moves north of Guam on Oct. 6.