NASA catches birth of Northwestern Pacific’s Tropical Storm Francisco


Credit: Credit: NASA/NRL

Soon after Tropical Storm Francisco developed in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean NASA’s Terra satellite passed overhead.

NASA’s Terra satellite used infrared light to gather temperature information from newly developed Tropical Storm Francisco. The strongest thunderstorms reach high into the atmosphere and have the coldest cloud top temperatures.

On August 2 at 8:20 a.m. EDT (1220 UTC) the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Terra satellite found coldest cloud top temperatures as cold as minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 Celsius). Cloud top temperatures that cold indicate strong storms with the potential to generate heavy rainfall.Those strongest storms were seen around the center and in fragmented bands of thunderstorms circling the center. Those temperatures were also found in a large band of thunderstorms feeding into the center from the east.

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Francisco was located near latitude 21.7 degrees north and longitude 151.2 degrees east. That’s about 576 nautical miles east-southeast of Iwo To island, Japan. Francisco is moving toward the northwest. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 knots (46 mph/74 kph) with higher gusts.

On the forecast track, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts Francisco to move northwest toward southwestern Japan. Francisco is expected to strengthen to 85 knots (98 mph/157 kph) before landfall in Kyushu by August 6, and a second landfall the next day in South Korea.

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