NASA's TRMM Satellite Saw Tropical Storm Mitchell "Drying Up"
Tropical Storm Mitchell (Western Pacific)
Dry air from Australia and wind shear are two factors that quickly limited rainfall in short-lived Tropical Storm Mitchell. NASA's TRMM satellite passed overhead on Dec. 30 and noticed most of the rainfall in one quadrant of the storm.
Tropical Storm Mitchell appeared to be weakening on Dec. 30 once the low-level center became fully exposed to outside winds. Wind Shear and NASA's TRMM satellite showed dry air moving into the tropical storm from Australia. Both of those factors were taking a toll on the storm. Maximum sustained winds were near 35 knots (40 mph/62 kph). Mitchell was located about 225 nautical miles west of Learmonth, Australia, near 23.2 south latitude and 109.8 east longitude. It was moving to the south at 13 knots and its center remained off the coast of Western Australia.
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed over Mitchell on Dec. 30 at 0457 UTC (Dec. 29 at 11:57 p.m. EST/U.S.) and noticed most of the precipitation was south of the center (yellow/green/blue). Much of the northern, western and eastern quadrants were devoid of precipitation on the TRMM image.
By 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST/U.S.), Mitchell had fallen below tropical depression status and was a remnant low pressure area. Clouds associated with Mitchell's remnants were hundreds of miles off-shore from Western Australia, and stretched from Geraldton to Perth to Albany.
Mitchell's remnants were dissipating over cooler waters while being battered with strong wind shear far off-shore from Western Australia.
Text Credit: Rob Gutro/Hal Pierce
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center