NASA sees wind shear affecting Tropical Storm Jimena

September 8, 2015 by Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA's Aqua satellite captured this infrared look at Jimena on Sept.8 at 1147 UTC (7:47 a.m. EDT). Strongest storms (purple) west of center. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

Strong vertical wind shear has been affecting Tropical Storm Jimena in the Central Pacific and pushing the clouds and storms west of the center, as seen in infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite gathers infrared data that reveals temperatures. When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Jimena on September 8 at 1147 UTC (7:47 a.m. EDT), the AIRS data and showed some highest, coldest, strongest thunderstorms with cloud top temperatures near -63F/-53C were being pushed west of the center.

Forecasters at NOAA's Central Pacific Hurricane Center noted that "Jimena is in an increasingly hostile west to southwest [vertical] shear environment...ranging from 24 knots to 32 knots.

Vertical wind shear means the change of winds with height. Those winds interact dynamically with thunderstorms to either help or diminish the strength of vertical updrafts of rising air that forms the thunderstorms that make up a tropical cyclone.

At 11 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. HST/1500 UTC) the center of Tropical Storm Jimena was located near latitude 26.5 north and longitude 152.7 west. About 485 miles (785 km) northeast of Honolulu, Hawaii. Jimena was moving toward the west near 8 mph (13 kph) and is expected to turn toward the west-southwest on Sept. 9 and 10.

Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (85 kph) and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) expects Jimena to gradually weaken through Thursday, September 9. The estimated minimum central pressure is 996 millibars.

CPHC said that Jimena is forecast to gradually weaken through the next five days, becoming an extratropical low pressure area by September 12.

Explore further: Two satellites see newborn Tropical Storm Jimena consolidating

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