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Hurricane Season 2009: Innis (Southern Pacific)
Feb. 20, 2009

Innis' Leftovers Call for Umbrellas in New Zealand Over Weekend

Aqua image of Innis> Larger image
Credit: NASA
Innis may just be a low pressure area, but he's causing trouble for residents of New Zealand and bringing a very wet weekend with him.

New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is made up of the North Island and the South Island and several smaller islands, including Stewart Island/Rakiura and the Chatham Islands.

Innis' remnants combined with another area of low pressure near northern New Zealand and that means heavy rains for the weekend. The local meteorological service posted heavy rain warnings on Feb. 20, and the North Island is expected to receive the brunt of the rains. The local weather service expects the hill country areas to be hardest hit. It is likely to be a long, wet weekend because low is slow moving.

This black and white satellite image of former Tropical Storm Innis' clouds was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on Feb. 18 at 0256 Zulu Time (3:56 p.m. Local New Zealand Time). At that time, Innis was still out at sea, and had sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph) and was weakening quickly. Innis was downgraded to a low pressure area by the 19th.

Residents across the North Island and western and northern areas of the South Island have been told by the local weather service to watch for rapidly-rising streams and rivers. Heavy rainfall, and thunderstorms, flash flooding and even weak tornadoes are possible across Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Northland. The downpours are expected to continue over the weekend for Westland and eastern hills of South Canterbury and Otago.

Text credit: Rob Gutro/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Feb. 19, 2009

TRMM image of a fading Innis> Larger image
Credit: NASA JPL/Ed Olsen
Cyclone Innis Just a Low Pressure Area Now

Tropical Cyclone Innis crossed over New Caledonia and charted a south-southwesterly course earlier this week, only to run into unfavorable conditions in the open waters of the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

It seemed that Innis may hold together as a tropical storm on Wed. Feb. 18, as it sped south-southwestward at 21 knots (24 mph) toward New Zealand. Forecasters there were keeping an eye on the system. However, by Thurs. Feb. 19, it was downgraded to a low pressure area in the Tasman Sea.

The last bulletin on Innis from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center was issued on Feb. 18. At that time, Innis was located about 395 miles east of Brisbane, Australia, near 27.2 degrees south and 160.4 degrees east. It had sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph) but those winds faded below tropical storm strength on Feb. 19.

The infrared imagery of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite is used to identify the cloud temperatures in tropical cyclones. The infrared image, taken on Feb. 18 at 8:53 a.m. EST (13:53 UTC) shows the former Cyclone Innis in the Tasman Sea just west of New Zealand. There's a large temperature difference between cyclone's cloudtops and the warmer ocean waters. The lowest temperatures (in purple) are associated with high, cold cloud tops that make up the top of Innis. 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.

Because the AIRS infrared signal doesn't penetrate through clouds areas of clear skies show the infrared (heat) signal from the ocean and land surfaces, revealing warmer temperatures (colored in orange and red). The orange temperatures are 80F (300 degrees Kelvin) or greater (the darker they are, the warmer they are).

Forecasters in New Zealand are watching Innis' remnants for effects on their local weather.

Text credit: Rob Gutro (from JTWC reports)/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Feb. 17, 2009

TRMM image of Tropical Cyclone Innis> Larger image
Credit: NASA
Tropical Cyclone Innis Forms, Soaks New Caledonia

New Caledonia is getting a soaking from heavy rain and thunderstorms from the newly formed and weak tropical storm Innis as it moves away from the island.

New Caledonia is a French overseas territory in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is home to about 230,000 people and has a land area of 18,575 square kilometers (7,172 square miles). The Coral Sea is located directly to the west of the island and Australia lies farther to the west.

Tropical cyclone Innis (or cyclone 15P) formed at 0300 UTC on Feb. 17 (10 a.m. EST, Feb. 16) near 20.7 degrees south and 165.1 degrees east. That was about 120 miles northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia. It moved southwest near 20 knots (23 mph) and had sustained winds near 35 mph (40 mph).

By 1200 UTC (7 a.m. EST) on Feb. 17, Innis still maintained the same intensity, and had moved to 23.1 south and 163.5 east putting its center southwest of the island and in open waters. Innis will move southwest, then south while gathering strength over the next couple of days.

The image above was made from data captured by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite on Feb. 17 at 4:38 Zulu Time or 11:38 p.m., Feb. 16 as it passed overhead in space. This TRMM image shows the horizontal pattern of rain intensity within Innis. The center of this poorly organized tropical cyclone is located near the yellow and green areas, which indicate rainfall between 20 and 40 millimeters (.78 to 1.57 inches) per hour.

For more information about how TRMM looks at rainfall, visit NASA's TRMM website at: > TRMM. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Text credit: Rob Gutro/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center