NASA examines reborn Tropical Cyclone Owen's temperatures


Credit: Credit: NASA JPL/Heidar Thrastarson

An infrared look by NASA’s Aqua satellite found intense storms around the center of the recently revived Tropical Cyclone Owen.

On Dec. 12, Tropical Cyclone Owen was intensifying in Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria, south of Groote Eylandt. Owen is expected to move slowly overnight and be close to the Northern Territory coast and destructive winds are possible along the coast.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology or ABM posted warnings and watches. The Warning Zone includes Alyangula in the Northern Territory, to Burketown in Queensland, including Groote Eylandt, Borroloola, Mornington Island. The Watch Zone includes Burketown to Aurukun and adjacent inland areas including Pormpuraaw, Kowanyama and Karumba.

On Dec. 12 at 0429 UTC (Dec. 11 at 11:29 p.m. EST) the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite analyzed cloud top temperatures in infrared light. AIRS found cloud top temperatures of strongest thunderstorms in several area around the center. Those temperatures were as cold as or colder than minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 degrees Celsius). They were embedded in a large area where cloud top temperatures were as cold as or colder than minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.6 degrees Celsius). Cloud top temperatures that cold indicate strong storms that have the capability to create heavy rain.

At 12:30 a.m. ACST local time on Dec. 13 in Queensland (10 a.m. EST, Dec. 12), Owen had sustained winds near 110 kilometers (68 miles) per hour. It was centered near 15.0 degrees South and 136.4 degrees East. That’s about 105 kilometers (71 miles) south of Groote Eylandt.

On Dec. 12 Tropical Cyclone Owen is located over the southwestern Gulf of Carpentaria and is moving slowly. ABM noted “Owen will continue to move slowly overnight before tracking towards the east, back towards the Queensland coast during Thursday. If Owen tracks more towards the south or west early Thursday morning, it may be located close to the coast between Port Roper and Port McArthur before commencing its eastward track during Thursday. Owen may reach category 3 intensity early Thursday morning. A coastal crossing along the southeast Gulf of Carpentaria coast between Karumba to Pormpuraaw later Friday {Dec. 14] is likely.”

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