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Sonia (Eastern Pacific)
November 4, 2013

NASA Video Shows Birth and Death of Tropical Storm Sonia [image-83]

Tropical Storm Sonia formed on Friday, Nov. 1 from the eighteenth tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific Ocean hurricane season. Sonia became a tropical storm on Nov. 2 and by Nov. 4 made landfall in western Mexico. Sonia's brief life was captured in a NASA animation of imagery from NOAA's GOES-West satellite.

NOAA's GOES-West satellite keeps a continuous eye on the eastern Pacific and western U.S. NASA's GOES Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. takes the satellite data and creates video and still images. A 36 second video that runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 4 shows Tropical Depression 18E strengthen into Tropical Storm Sonia (it appeared more rounded as the circulation became more organized), and then moved northeast and made landfall during the early morning hours on Nov. 4.

On Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. EDT, Tropical Depression 18E was located about 345 miles/555 km south of the southern tip of Baja California and was moving northwest. By Sunday, Nov. 3 at 4 a.m. EST, Tropical Depression 18E strengthened into Tropical Storm Sonia when it was about 285 miles/455 km south of the southern tip of Baja California. That's when tropical storm warnings and watches were issued from Mazatlan northward to Altata. Hours after strengthening, Sonia turned to the north-northeast and headed for mainland Mexico.

Sonia's strongest maximum sustained winds reached 45 mph/75 kph but only for several hours. Sonia maintained that strength from 10 a.m. EDT to 7 p.m. EST and then weakened.

By 4 a.m. EST on Monday, Nov. 4, Sonia had already made landfall along the coast of Sinaloa near the city of El Dorado. Sonia had already weakened to a tropical depression as it continued moving further inland on a north-northwesterly track. Sonia's maximum sustained winds were near 35 mph/55 kph and it was weakening as it moved over western Mexico's rugged and mountainous terrain. It was centered about 20 miles/30 km southeast of Culiacan, Mexico, near 24.6 north and 107.3 west.

Rainfall is the biggest threat from Sonia, as with any land falling tropical cyclone. The National Hurricane Center expects between 3 and 6 inches of rainfall with isolated totals as high as 10 inches in the Mexican states of Sinaloa, western Durango and southern Chihuahua on Nov. 3.

Text credit:  Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


Nov. 1, 2013 - Two Satellites See  New Eastern Pacific Tropical Depression Form [image-51][image-78]

The eighteenth tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific Ocean hurricane season formed early on the first day of November and is expected to become a tropical storm. NASA's TRMM satellite observed moderate rainfall in the storm and NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured a look at the cloud extent.

On Oct. 31 at 3:52 p.m. EDT NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite known as TRMM passed over the developing depression. TRMM data showed an area of moderate rainfall around the forming depression's center, where rain was falling at a rate of 1.18 inches/30 mm per hour. The highest thunderstorm cloud tops were around 6.2 miles/10 km high.

NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an infrared image of the newly developed depression located about 305 miles/485 km southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico near 16.4 north and 108.0 west at 5 a.m. EDT on Nov. 1. TD18E had maximum sustained winds near 3 mph/55 kph and is expected to strengthen and become Tropical Storm Sonia. It was moving to the north at 7 mph.

NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an infrared image of newborn Tropical Depression 18E in the Eastern Pacific on Nov. 1 at 8 a.m. EDT. Satellite data revealed that the surface circulation became better defined on Nov. 1.

There are several factors that forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are watching for over the weekend of Nov. 2 and 3. After 24 to 36 hours, a mid-level elongated area of low pressure or trough is expected to push the depression to the north and north-northeast bringing it toward land. Computer models show an increase in vertical wind shear from the southwest happening by Nov 4.

Text credit:  Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Image Token: 
[image-36]
GOES image of 18E
NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured this infrared image of newborn Tropical Depression 18E in the Eastern Pacific on Nov. 1 at 1200 UTC.
Image Credit: 
NASA GOES Project
Image Token: 
[image-51]
TRMM Image of 18E
TRMM data on Oct. 31 showed the developing depression had an area of moderate rainfall around its center, where rain was falling at a rate of 30 mm per hour. The highest thunderstorm cloud tops were around 10 km.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
Image Token: 
[image-78]
Youtube Override: 
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A 36 second video that runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 4 shows Tropical Depression 18E strengthen into Tropical Storm Sonia and make landfall on Nov. 4.
Image Credit: 
NASA GOES Project
Image Token: 
[image-83]
Page Last Updated: November 4th, 2013
Page Editor: Lynn Jenner