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Hurricane Season 2008: Tropical Storm Cristina (Eastern Pacific Ocean)
June 30, 2008

Cristina: the Third Eastern Pacific Tropical Storm Already a Depression

AIRS image of Tropical Storm CristinaCredit: NASA JPL
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On the heels of Boris, the eastern Pacific's second tropical storm, Cristina formed Friday, June 27 and strengthened over the weekend to become the third named storm. Just three days after she formed, Cristina had lost her tropical storm status and was already downgraded to a tropical depression on Monday, June 30.

At 8:00 a.m. PDT (1500 Zulu Time) the center of Tropical Depression Cristina was located near latitude 14.3 north and longitude 131.2 west or about 1,515 miles (2,435 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California.

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 km/hr) with higher gusts. Estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 millibars.

The depression is moving toward the west near 12 mph and this general motion is expected to continue during the next two days and Cristina is expected to weaken further over that time period.

What's causing Cristina to fade so quickly after forming? Cristina is now battling a persistent wind shear (winds blowing at different directions in different levels of the atmosphere that tear a storm apart), as well as cooler sea surface temperatures. Sea surface temperatures greater than 80 degrees Fahrenheit are necessary for a tropical cyclone to maintain strength.

As a result of these two forces, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center expect that Cristina will become a remnant low pressure area by 24 hours, and may dissipate entirely within three days if not sooner.

This infrared image of Cristina was created by data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), an instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite. Cristina looks like a backwards letter "C" in this image. The image was created on June 30 at 10:23 UTC (6:23 a.m. EDT).

The AIRS images show the temperature of the cloud tops or the surface of the Earth in cloud-free regions. The lowest temperatures (in purple) are associated with high, cold cloud tops that make up the top of Cristina. The infrared signal of the AIRS instrument does not penetrate through clouds. Where there are no clouds the AIRS instrument reads the infrared signal from the surface of the ocean waters, revealing warmer temperatures in orange and red.
Text credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center