After Brief Lull, Another Tropical Cyclone Forms in the South Pacific
Hurricane Season 2007: Zita (Western Pacific)
Tropical Cyclone Zita formed in the South Central Pacific Ocean late Mon., Jan. 22. While it quickly gained strength, it is already showing signs of weakening, as it encounters an environment unfavorable for development. The storm is not expected to threaten any land masses.
At 4:00 a.m. EST (0900 UTC) on Tues., Jan. 23, Zita was located near 16.8 degrees south latitude and 153.8 degrees west longitude, or about 330 miles west-northwest of Tahiti, with a forward motion toward the southeast at 19 knots (22 mph). Maximum sustained winds were near 60 knots (69 mph), with gusts to 75 knots (86 mph). Ocean wave heights of around 14 feet were occurring near the storm center.
Forecasters expect the cyclone to weaken over the next 24 hours, with sustained winds likely decreasing well below 40 knots (46 mph), as it encounters strong wind shear (changing wind speed and direction with height). Zita will also begin to entrain drier air and interact with an approaching low-pressure system, further weakening the cyclone.
This satellite image shows Tropical Cyclone Zita at 12:30 a.m. EST (0530 UTC) on Tues., Jan. 23. It indicates a generally well-organized storm, with deep, thick clouds (bright white) surrounding the storm center (red marking). Image credit: JTWC/SATOPS.
Goddard Space Flight Center