NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Ella form near Fiji
The nineteenth tropical cyclone of the Southern Pacific Ocean season formed and is now threatening Fiji. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured an image of the storm shortly after it developed.
Tropical Cyclone Ella was tropical storm strength at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT) on May 9. It was located about 150 nautical miles west-southwest of Pago Pago, near 14.9 degrees south latitude and 173.6 degrees west longitude. Ella had maximum sustained winds near 45 knots (52 mph/83 kph), and is not expected to reach hurricane force. Ella was moving to the west-northwest at a crawl of 2 knots (2.3 mph/3.7 kph).
On May 9 at 0354 UTC (May 8 at 11:54 p.m. EDT) NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible image of newly developed Tropical Cyclone Ella northeast of the island of Fiji. The imagery showed a consolidating system with flaring thunderstorm development around the center of circulation.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that the environment is conducive for development with warm sea surface temperatures and low vertical wind shear. However, because Tropical Cyclone Donna is located to the west its outflow is impeding Ella's own outflow. A tropical cyclone needs outflow of air from the top of the system to maintain strength or strengthen.
For updated forecasts and warnings from the Fiji Meteorological Service, visit: http://www.met.gov.fj/current_warnings.php/
In three days, Ella is expected to move into an environment with high vertical wind shear which is expected to weaken the system as it approaches a landfall in Fiji.