NASA finds wind shear affecting Tropical Cyclone Flamboyan


Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Flamboyan in the Southern Indian Ocean it analyzed the storm in visible and infrared light.

Flamboyan, the 21st tropical cyclone of the Southern Indian Ocean season, formed over the weekend of April 28 and 29.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite provided a visible-light image of Flamboyan on April 30 at 4:05 a.m. EDT. The image showed that northwesterly vertical wind shear was pushing the storms southeast of the center.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder that also flies aboard Aqua captured an infrared image of the storm on April 30. The infrared data provides cloud top temperatures, and the coldest cloud tops are highest in the atmosphere, and are the strongest storms. The infrared data showed wind shear had pushed strongest storms with the coldest cloud tops southeast of the center. The most powerful thunderstorms had cloud top temperatures as cold as or colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius). Storms with cloud top temperatures that cold have the capability to produce heavy rainfall.

On April 30 at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the storm was centered near 15.9 degrees south latitude and 84.2 degrees east longitude, about 861 nautical miles southeast of Diego Garcia. Flamboyan is moving to the south-southwest at 8 mph (7 knots/12.9 kph). The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted that Flamboyan had maximum sustained winds near 80 mph (70 knots/129.6 kph) making it a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Wind shear is expected to weaken Flamboyan over the next several days.


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