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Hurricane Season 2011: Tropical Storm Sarika (Northwest Pacific Ocean)
06.13.11
 
AIRS captured this infrared image of Sarika on June 10; purple areas represent icy cold temperatures and strong thunderstorms.. › View larger image
NASA's AIRS instrument on the Aqua satellite captured this infrared image of Tropical Storm Sarika on June 10 at 05:17 UTC (1:17 a.m. EDT). The purple areas represent icy cold temperatures of -63F/-52C and high, strong thunderstorms.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Sees Heavy Rain in Tropical Storm Sarika Before Landfall in China

Tropical Storm Sarika made landfall in China's Guangdong Province over the weekend of June 11. NASA's Aqua satellite revealed it had at least two large areas of strong thunderstorms and heavy rainfall as it was moving through the South China Sea on June 10 before landfall.

NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument that flies on the Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Tropical Storm Sarika on June 10 at 05:17 UTC (1:17 a.m. EDT). The infrared image captures cloud top temperatures and the coldest temperatures appeared east and south of the center of circulation. Those cold cloud top temperatures represented the strongest thunderstorms in the tropical storm where rainfall rates could reach up to 2 inches / 50 mm per hour.

About 12 hours before Sarika made landfall, it had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph/64 kmh) and was moving north about 14 knots (16 mph/26 kmh). It was also about 160 miles east-southeast of Hong Kong near 21.3 North and 116.9 East at that time.

According to CNTV in China, Tropical Storm Sarika made landfall on June 11 near Shantou City with winds reaching 45 mph (72 kmh). Once it made landfall it weakened and continued north bringing rains to the cities of Jieyang , Meizhou and Chaozhou.

United Press International reported 23 people killed from landslides and flooding in Xianning, which is located in central China's Hubei Province.

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



June 10, 2011

The heaviest rainfall (falling at 2 inches/50 mm per hour in red) is south of the center of Sarika's circulation. › View larger image
This image of Tropical Storm Sarika in the South China Sea on June 10 at 0400 UTC shows that the heaviest rainfall (falling at 2 inches/50 mm per hour in red) is south of the center of the storm's circulation.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
NASA Sees Heavy Rainfall in Tropical Storm Sarika

Tropical Depression 05W has grown into a tropical storm and given the name Sarika as it heads toward China. Satellite imagery from NASA shows that the center of the storm seems to be separated from the strongest thunderstorms.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite that is co-managed by NASA and the Japanese Space Agency measures rainfall in the tropics, and today's satellite imagery (June 10, 2011) on Tropical Storm Sarika shows that the heaviest rainfall (falling at 2 inches/50 mm per hour) is south of the center of the storm's circulation. That's an indication that the storm will not intensify. Normally in intensifying storms the heaviest rainfall is around the center of circulation. TRMM imagery is created at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

In addition, infrared satellite imagery revealed that the low-level circulation center is now fully exposed, which allows outside winds inside to weaken the circulation of the storm. As the system continues to track north, it is expected to run into stronger wind shear, which is expected to keep the storm from strengthening.

Regardless of intensification, Tropical Storm Sarika is in the South China Sea and charting a course for Hong Kong and China and both have posted warnings. Hong Kong posted a "Stand-by Signal 1" across the territory.

Although Sarika didn't intensify into a cyclone until today, it brought heavy rainfall and flooding in the northwestern Philippines. A weather observer named Adonis was in contact with NASA's Hurricane web page and noted that five people were reported killed from rapidly rising flood waters in Central Luzon. He noted that intermittent rainfall fell in Iloilo and Guimaras Island last night as the system pulled away to the north.

At 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT) Tropical Storm Sarika had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (39 mph). It was located about 160 nautical miles east-southeast of Hong Kong, China near 21.9 North and 116.9 East. Sarika is moving north at 14 knots.

Sarika is forecast to intensify before making landfall and dissipate east of Hong Kong over the weekend.

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



June 9, 2011

AIRS image of what was 92W and is now Tropical Depression 05W › View larger image
This image of Tropical Depression 05W in the Northwestern Pacific June 8 at 1741 UTC (1:41 p.m. EDT) from the NASA AIRS instrument shows strong thunderstorms (purple) over the southern side of the circulation center.
Credit: NASA JPL/Ed Olsen
NASA Catches System 92W Become 5th NW Pacific Tropical Depression

The low pressure system that has been bringing rainfall to the northwestern Philippines has strengthened into the fifth tropical depression of the Northwest Pacific Ocean's hurricane season.

Tropical Depression 05W (TD05W) also known as Dodong in the Philippines was caught by infrared NASA satellite imagery on June 8 at 1741 UTC (1:41 p.m. EDT). The infrared data showed some powerful thunderstorms with very cold cloud top temperatures near the threshold of AIRS data of -63 Fahrenheit and -52 Celsius. That indicates the coldest, strongest thunderstorms within the tropical depression. Some of the strongest thunderstorms at that time were over western Luzon and stretched out over the South China Sea.

AIRS microwave imagery today showed that the banding of thunderstorms around the southern edge of the depression had the strongest storms. The storm's convection has decreased today. The decrease in convection is because of an upper-level trough (elongated area) of low pressure to the north that is preventing convection from occurring on the storm's northern side.

At 1500 UTC on June 9, TD05W was about 190 miles northwest of Manila, Philippines near 16.7 North and 118.4 East. It was moving to the north-northwest near 12 knots and had maximum sustained winds near 25 knots with higher gusts. It is now moving toward southern China and is expected to intensify into a tropical storm.

Warnings remain posted in the Philippines as TD05W continues pulling away.

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



June 8, 2011

AIRS captured a look at System 92W and saw a large area of strong convection (purple). › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite AIRS instrument captured an infrared look at System 92W's cloud temperatures and thunderstorms on June 8 at 05:29 UTC (1:29 a.m. EDT) and saw a large area of strong convection (purple).
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Sees Low Pressure System 92W Raining on the Philippines

Another low pressure area in the northwestern Pacific Ocean is troubling the Philippines today, about two weeks after Super Typhoon Songda swept past the northeastern area.

Infrared imagery from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite on June 8 at 05:29 UTC (1:29 a.m. EDT) showed some strong convection and strong rainmaking thunderstorms.

AIRS infrared imagery shows a very large area of high, cold thunderstorm cloud tops mostly on the southwestern side of the center of circulation. That area has temperatures as cold as or colder (it's a benchmark) than -63 Fahrenheit/-52 Celsius. Those cold temperatures in cloud tops mean they're very high in the troposphere and the thunderstorms have a lot of uplift. It also suggests that they're heavy rainmakers. Satellite imagery shows that System 92W has moved to the northwest and over the Visayan Islands since yesterday (June 7). Since then, it has regained some strength.

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite revealed that bands of thunderstorms have deepened, which indicates the storm is getting better organized.

Today, June 8, the center of System 92W was located at 13.4 North and 121.5 East, about 75 nautical miles south-southeast of Manila, the Philippines. At 3 p.m. EDT on June 8, Manila was reporting a temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit, with light rain, and winds gusting to 25 mph from the east-southeast.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center now gives System 92W a "Medium" chance for development into a tropical storm over the next 24 hours.

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