NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Iris at Queensland coast

April 3, 2018, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
The AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Tropical Cyclone Iris on April 3 at 0323 UTC (April 2 at 11:23 p.m. EDT). Coldest cloud tops and strongest storms appear in purple. Credit: NASA JPL/Heidar Thrastarson

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Iris near the coast of Queensland, Australia it measured cloud top temperatures and found strong storms with the potential for creating heavy rainfall.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Iris on April 3 at 0323 UTC (April 2 at 11:23 p.m. EDT). AIRS found powerful thunderstorms with cloud top temperatures as cold as or colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius) were affecting Queensland, Australia's coast. Storms with cloud top temperatures that cold have the capability to produce .

As Tropical cyclone Iris continues moving southeast and parallel to the Queensland coast, the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology (ABM), Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Queensland continued issuing warnings and watches. The Warning Zone stretches from Bowen to St Lawrence, including Mackay and the Whitsunday Islands. The Watch Zone includes St Lawrence to Yeppoon.

At 8:53 a.m. EDT (1253 UTC) on Tuesday, April 3, ABM noted that Iris is a Category 2 storm and a tropical storm, with sustained winds near the center near 59 mph (95 kph).

Iris was centered near 18.3 degrees south latitude and 139.9 degrees east longitude, about 211 miles (340 km) east-northeast of Townsville. Iris was moving to the southeast at 6.2 mph (10 kph) and the ABM expects Iris to continue on its current southeasterly track until Thursday, April 5.

AMB noted that Iris may intensify slightly, but by April 5, the is expected to slow in its movement and weaken. It may reverse direction and adopt a track to the northwest overnight Thursday or on Friday as a weak category 1 or remnant tropical low.

Explore further: NASA sees Iris the Zombie Storm reborn near Queensland

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