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Hurricane Season 2011: Tropical Storm Bianca (Southern Indian Ocean)
01.31.11
 
Tropical Remnant Bianca Makes Landfall Near Perth Australia

Western Australia and the city of Perth have been spared the brunt of Cyclone Bianca, as the storm system weakened and made landfall as a remnant low pressure system.

Bianca was downgraded to a low pressure system before crossing the south-west coast during the early morning hours of January 31. Thunderstorms the preceded the arrival of the low pressure area formerly known as Bianca seemed to cause more damage with reports of homes damaged and trees down.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD



January 28, 2011

NASA Satellite Eyes a Stronger Cyclone Bianca That May Boomerang Back to Australia

Bianca has strengthened since it moved away from the coast and its center is clearly visible in this image. › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Bianca off the coast of Western Australia on January 28 at 06:30 UTC (2:30 p.m. EST, Australia/Brisbane local time). Bianca has strengthened since it moved away from the coast and its center is clearly visible in this image.
Credit: NASA Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team
Tropical Cyclone Bianca appears to have currently cut ties with Western Australia as it moves west and away from land, however, forecasters believe it will boomerang southeast toward Perth over the weekend. NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Bianca and it appeared stronger and more organized now that it is away from the influence of land and headed into the open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Bianca off the coast of Western Australia on January 28 at 06:30 UTC (1:30 a.m. EST, 2:30 a.m. January 29 Australia/Brisbane local time). Bianca had strengthened since it moved away from the coast and its center was clearly visible in the latest image.

Warnings are posted for coastal areas and coastal waters. There is a Coastal Waters Wind Warning from Mandurah to Walpole. A Strong Wind Warning is also currently in effect from Mandurah to Cape Leeuwin and from Cape Leeuwin to Walpole. Winds are forecast to increase from the east-southeast between 20 and 30 knots (23 mph to 34 mph or 37 km/hr to 55 km/hr) late in the day on Saturday. Rough surf is likely with waves to 2 meters (~6.5 feet).

At 1800 UTC on January 28, Tropical Cyclone Bianca was located near 26.2 South latitude and 107.7 East longitude. Bianca had maximum sustained winds near 75 knots (86 mph or 138 km/hr.) and is a Category One Cyclone/hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. It was moving south-southwest near 13 knots and is expected to turn back toward the southwest.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast track takes Bianca back toward a landfall near Perth in the southwestern part of Australia by Sunday, January 30. Residents around the area of Perth should closely monitor their local forecasts over the weekend.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD


January 27, 2011

NASA's Infrared Satellite Data Showed Bianca Was Briefly a Cyclone

The areas shaded in purple show cloud top temperatures are as cold as or colder than -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius). › View larger image
This infrared NASA AIRS image of Tropical Storm Bianca on January 27 at 0547 UTC showed a large area of high, cold thunderstorm cloud tops (purple) with intense precipitation. The most intense precipitation is occurring in the areas shaded in purple where cloud top temperatures are as cold as or colder than -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius).
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
Bianca intensified into a Category One Cyclone yesterday as it continued to move parallel to the coast of Western Australia. An infrared satellite image from NASA's Aqua satellite showed a large area of strong thunderstorms around Bianca's center when it briefly strengthened to a Cyclone. It has again weakened back to tropical storm status.

NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured an infrared image of Tropical Storm Bianca on January 27 at 0547 that showed a large area of strong convection/strong thunderstorms around Bianca's center as it continued to move off the Western Australian coast. That large area of high, cold thunderstorm cloud tops were as cold as or colder than -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius).

Early in the day on January 27, Bianca's maximum sustained winds were near 65 knots (74 mph/120 km/hr) so it barely achieved Category One Cyclone status. Later in the day, by 2100 UTC (3 p.m. EST) they weakened to 60 knots (69 mph/111 km/hr). At that time, Bianca was about 200 nautical miles north-northeast of Learmonth, Australia near 19.7 South latitude and 115.4 East longitude. Bianca was moving west near 10 knots (~12 mph/~19 km/hr).

NASA's Terra satellite passed over Tropical Storm Bianca on January 27 at 03:00 UTC and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured a visible image of the storm. The image showed a hint of an eye that appeared to be obscured by a thin veil of clouds. To see the image, go to: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/?2011027-0127/Bianca.A2011027.0300/.

At 2100 UTC on January 27, weather radar from Dampier, Australia showed that thunderstorms were tightly wrapped around a well-defined low-level center of circulation.

By the weekend, Bianca is expected to weaken as it moves into an area of stronger vertical wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD


January 26, 2011

NASA’s TRMM Satellite Sees TD10S Strengthen into Tropical Storm Bianca

Tropical Storm Bianca › View larger image
NASA's TRMM satellite captured Tropical Storm Bianca's rainfall on January 26. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 340 mm) per hour. Over open waters, in the northwestern quadrant of the storm, there were some areas of heavy rainfall at almost 2 inches (50 mm) per hour.>br /> Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
The life of a cyclone is a complex one, and NASA satellites have kept track of a low that has now become Tropical Storm Bianca just off the northern coast of Western Australia.

What began as a low pressure system designated as System 98S on January 24 bringing rains near Kuri Bay, Australia. On January 25, System 98S strengthened into the tenth tropical depression of the Southern Pacific Ocean hurricane season and was designated as "10S." Today, January 26, that low intensified into a tropical storm and was named Bianca.

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite has been monitoring rainfall in the storm to assist area forecasts. NASA's TRMM satellite captured Tropical Storm Bianca's rainfall on January 26 at 01:09 UTC (Jan. 25 at 8:09 p.m. EST). Most of the rainfall around the storm was moderate, falling at rates between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 340 mm) per hour. Over open waters, in the northwestern quadrant of the storm, there were some areas of heavy rainfall at almost 2 inches (50 mm) per hour. The TRMM image also clearly showed the storm's center was located off the coast and over open waters. The TRMM satellite is managed by both NASA and JAXA, and images are created at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

On January 26 at 02:20 UTC (Jan. 25 at 9:20 p.m. EST) NASA's Terra satellite passed over Bianca and the Moderate Resolution Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured an image of Bianca. The image showed a cloud-filled center of circulation just north of the northern coast of Western Australia. Most of the cloud cover associated with Bianca appeared over open waters at that time. The Terra satellite image can be found here. The image was created by NASA's MODIS Rapid Response Team, located at NASA Goddard.

At 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST) on January 26, Tropical Storm Bianca had maximum sustained winds near 60 knots (69 mph/111 km/hr). It was centered about 225 nautical miles northeast of Learmonth, Australia near 19.8 South latitude and 116.2 East longitude. It was moving westward near 14 knots (16 mph/25 km/hr) and its center was staying off-shore.

Radar imagery from Port Hedland, Australia showed a well-defined low level circulation center with thunderstorms surrounding it. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast indicates that the center of Bianca will stay over open waters as it continues to intensify over the next 24 hours. It is then expected to curve to the southeast and westerly winds are expected to increase and it will move into cooler waters, two factors that will help weaken the storm.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.



January 25, 2011

NASA Infrared Data Sees Birth of Tenth Tropical Depression in So. Indian Ocean Near Australian Coast

AIRS image showing the coldest cloud tops and strongest thunderstorms (in purple) over the Southern Indian Ocean. › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Tropical Storm 10S on January 25 at 05:53 UTC (12:53 a.m. EST). The image shows most of the coldest cloud tops (-63 Fahrenheit) and strongest thunderstorms over appear (in purple) over the Southern Indian Ocean, and some along the extreme northern coast of Western Australia. The red coloration further south is the heat of the land.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of the very cold clouds that house powerful thunderstorms within the Southern Indian Ocean's newest tropical depression, number 10S. The depression quickly strengthened into a tropical storm and continues to affect the northern coast of Western Australia.

When Aqua passed over the Tropical Storm 10S on January 25 at 05:53 UTC (12:53 a.m. EST), the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured an infrared image of the storm's clouds. The image showed that most of the coldest cloud tops (-63 Fahrenheit/-52 Celsius) and strongest thunderstorms over appeared over the Southern Indian Ocean, and some along the extreme northern coast of Western Australia. The infrared image also showed the contrasting heat of the land.

A Cyclone Warning is current for coastal and island communities from Cape Leveque to Coral Bay. At 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST) on January 25, Tropical Storm 10S had maximum sustained winds of 35 knots (40 mph / 64 km/hr). Tropical Storm 10S was located about 525 miles ENE of Learmonth, Australia near 17.4 South latitude and 121.8 East longitude. It was moving southwest near 15 knots (17 mph/27 km/hr). Waves along coastal areas could reach 10 feet, so beach erosion is likely, and low level flooding is possible. At 17:30 UTC (2:30 p.m. EST), moderate to heavy rains were moving toward Port Hedland, in advance of the center of Tropical Storm 10S.

TD 10S is moving southwest and is forecast to move parallel to the western coastline of Australia. The storm is expected to strengthen to hurricane force but not threaten land areas.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD



January 24, 2011

NASA Satellite Spies Cold Cloudtops in System 98S That Hint at Tropical Development

The coldest cloud tops in 98S appear in purple and indicate the strongest thunderstorms likely heavy rain. › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over System 98S on January 24 at 05:17 UTC (12:17 a.m. EST) and the AIRS instrument captured an infrared image of its cloud top temperatures. The coldest cloud tops appear in purple (-63 Fahrenheit/-53 Celsius) and indicate the strongest thunderstorms and areas of likely heavy rainfall.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA's Aqua satellite is already seeing the potential in a tropical low pressure area to blossom into a tropical cyclone through its very cold cloud top temperatures.

A low pressure system known as System 98S is currently moving over the northern coast of Western Australia appears to have a good chance for developing into a tropical cyclone later this week once it slides into the warm waters of the Southern Indian Ocean.

On Monday, January 24, 2011 EST, the low was nearing Kuri Bay, located on the northern coast of Western Australia. It is forecast to continue moving southwest and skip over water along the northern coast as it heads toward Beagle Bay, Derby and Broome will be affected by the low's outer rains and winds as it continues tracking southwest.

A Cyclone Warning is current for coastal and island communities from Kuri Bay to Wallal. A Cyclone Watch is current for coastal and island communities from Wallal to Exmouth.

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over System 98S on January 24 at 05:17 UTC (12:17 a.m. EST) and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured an infrared image of its cloud top temperatures. The coldest cloud tops are as cold as or colder than -63 Fahrenheit (-53 Celsius) and indicate the strongest thunderstorms and areas of likely heavy rainfall. Those coldest clouds were mostly over the Southern Indian Ocean; however, some were over Wyndham and farther to the northeast.

Forecasters at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology noted that System 98S is close to the west Kimberley coast and if it moves over open waters it could intensify into a tropical cyclone by Tuesday evening local time. That would mean heavy rains and gusty winds for the west Kimberley coast. Areas from Kuri Bay southwest to Beagle Bay are currently in the path of this low. That also includes Leveque, and Cockatoo Island.

At 1200 UTC (7 a.m. EST) January 24, System 98S had maximum sustained winds near 25 knots (29 mph/46) per hour. It was located near 14.7 South latitude and 126.1 East longitude approximately 305 nm west-southwest of Darwin, Australia. System 98S was moving west-southwest near 6 knots (7 mph/11 km/hr).

Surface observations at Truscott indicated that pressure had fallen by 4 millibars, indicating strengthening despite the low's center being over land. Southwest of the low-level center, near Doongan, the pressure was reported at 999 millibars, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that that suggests the low-level center is drifting southwestward along the coast.

System 98S is forecast to move over open waters tonight, where it is expected to strengthen.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD