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Hurricane Season 2009: Tropical Depression 1E (Pacific Ocean)
06.19.09
 
June 19, 2009

TD-1E's thunderstorms (in blue and purple) are seen as a perfectly round shaped off the western Mexican coast in this Aqua satellite AIRS image. TD-1E's thunderstorms (in blue and purple) are seen as a perfectly round shaped off the western Mexican coast in this Aqua satellite AIRS image. > Larger image
Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
This is the forecast track of TD-1E from the National Hurricane Center, as of June 19. This is the forecast track of TD-1E from the National Hurricane Center, as of June 19. > Larger image
Credit: NOAA/NHC
Mexico Getting Pounded With Heavy Rain from TD1-E

The first tropical depression of the eastern Pacific Ocean season is making landfall in Mexico and has drenched the state of Sinaloa already.

On June 19, as Tropical Depression One-E ("E" for Eastern Pacific) was trudging into western Mexico, and the state of Sinaloa, it was dropping between 4 and 8 inches of rain, with higher amounts in isolated areas. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT the center of Tropical Depression One-E (TD1-E) was located near latitude 21.0 north and longitude 107.1 west or about 160 miles south-southwest of Mazatlan, Mexico.

The depression is moving toward the north-northeast near 10 mph and will gradually turn north while slowing down. TD1-E's center will be near Las Islas Marias today and near the mainland coast of Mexico on June 20. Its current forecast track brings the center of TD1-E between the towns of Culacan and Mazatlan.

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts. There is still a possibility that the depression could become a tropical storm later on June 19. Estimated minimum central pressure is 1003 millibars.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of the low pressure area on June 19 at 4:35 p.m. EDT (8:35 UTC. In the infrared image, TD1-E's cold clouds (in purple) resemble a tight almost perfect circle. It is located right next to the western Mexican coast. The storm's lowest temperatures (in purple) are associated with high, cold cloud tops. Those temperatures are as cold as or colder than 220 degrees Kelvin or minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (F). The blue areas are around 240 degrees Kelvin, or minus 27F.

What's that Other Huge Area of Cold Clouds?

The other huge rounded area of purple and blue (high clouds) over the Mexico/Texas border is a mesoscale convective complex (MCC). In an MCC, the area of cold cloud tops exceeds 39,000 square miles with temperatures less than or equal to −32 °C (−25.6 °F); and an area of cloud top of 19,000 square miles with temperature less than or equal to −52 °C (−61.6 °F). They must maintain that size for more than six hours to be considered an MCC, and they're long-lived, form at night (or early morning, pre-dawn) and have heavy rainfall, wind, hail, lightning and possibly tornadoes. This AIRS image shows that the core area has temperatures colder than -76F (-60 C). So, that other system isn't a tropical depression, it's an MCC.

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



June 18, 2009

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-11) captured this satellite image of the low on June 18 at 10:00 a.m. EDT (14:00 UTC).> Larger image
Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project
This image from TRMM shows a region of fairly heavy rainfall (~25 millimeters per hour) near the middle of TD1.The TRMM satellite flew over TD1 on June 18 at 8:41 a.m. EDT. The precipitation analysis shown was made using data from the TRMM Microwave Imager instrument. It shows a region of fairly heavy rainfall (~25 millimeters per hour) near the middle of TD1. > Larger image
Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
Tropical Depression One Forms in Eastern Pacific

The first tropical depression of the season has formed in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and it is already forecast to make an impact. Landfall is expected in western central Mexico in the very early morning hours on Saturday June 20.

A tropical storm watch has already been issued for the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico. The watch extends from Topolobampo southward to El Roblito and for Las Islas Marias. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 36 hours.

Although the depression just formed, forecasters think that it may have time to achieve tropical storm status before making landfall.

AT 11:00 a.m. EDT (8a.m. PDT) Tropical Depression One's (TD1) center was located near 18.2 degrees north latitude and 108.5 degrees west longitude. That's 370 miles south-southwest of Mazatlan, Mexico. TD1's minimum central pressure is 1005 millibars. TD1's maximum sustained winds are near 30 mph with higher gusts, and slow strengthening is expected. It may become Tropical Storm Andres by Friday, June 19.

The National Hurricane Center reports that "The depression is moving toward the north near 9 mph and this general motion is expected to continue through the next 24 to 36 hours...with a gradual turn toward the north-northeast late Friday. On this track...the system will be approaching the pacific coast of Mexico by Friday night or early Saturday."

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-11) captured this satellite image of the low on June 18 at 10:00 a.m. EDT (14:00 UTC). The low is the circular area of clouds in the lower right corner of the image. Mexico and Central America are located to the right of the system, and Baja California is seen to the system's north.

GOES is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It was created by NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

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



June 17, 2009

The Low pressure area's scattered thunderstorms and high clouds (in blue and purple) are seen in this infrared Aqua satellite AIRS image.The Low pressure area's scattered thunderstorms and high clouds (in blue and purple) are seen in this infrared Aqua satellite AIRS image. > Larger image
Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
Better Prospects for First Tropical Depression in Eastern Pacific

Conditions have improved in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, at least in terms of helping a low pressure system develop into a tropical depression. That's what the National Hurricane Center indicated in the latest Tropical Weather Outlook in reference to a low off the Mexican coast.

At 8 a.m. EDT on June 17 showers and thunderstorms associated with the low pressure area located about 300 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico were becoming better organized. The Hurricane Center has upped the chances from 30-50 percent to "greater than 50 percent" that the low would become the Eastern Pacific Ocean's first tropical depression of the hurricane season. The transition to a tropical cyclone would happen within 48 hours of that observation.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of the low pressure area on June 16 at 4:45 p.m. EDT (20:35 UTC. In the infrared image, west of the Mexican coast, the cold clouds from the Low are seen in several areas in blue and purple that appear to have a larger circular shape, indicating that the storm is coming together.

The infrared image shows the large difference in temperature between the storm's high, cold cloud-tops and the warm ocean temperatures. The surrounding ocean waters in the infrared image are represented in orange, and are temperatures 80F (300 degrees Kelvin) or warmer. The storm's lowest temperatures (in purple) are associated with high, cold cloud tops. Those temperatures are as cold as or colder than 220 degrees Kelvin or minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (F). The blue areas are around 240 degrees Kelvin, or minus 27F.

Forecasters will continue to watch the storm for further development. If it does become a tropical storm, it would be named "Andres."

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



June 16, 2009

This low pressure area was located several hundred miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico on June 16 at 8 a.m. EDT. > Larger image
Image Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project
Another Eastern Pacific Low With Tropical Possibilities

Last week's low pressure system in the eastern Pacific Ocean that was about 1,000 miles southwest of the Baja California fizzled out. This week, there's a new low pressure area in the eastern Pacific that forecasters are watching and it is closer to the western Mexican coast.

This low pressure area was located several hundred miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico on June 16 at 8 a.m. EDT. Although the showers and thunderstorms associated with the low pressure area are disorganized, the National Hurricane Center, Miami, Fla. says that "some development of this system is possible as it moves slowly west-northwestward over the next day or two."

The chances that it may organize further and become a tropical depression in the next 2 days are between a 30 and 50 percent, according to the Hurricane Center.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-12) captured this satellite image of the low on June 13 at 10:45 a.m. EDT (14:45 UTC). The low is the circular area of clouds in the center of the image. Mexico and Central America are the landforms to the right of the system.

GOES is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It was created by NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

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