NASA spots a weaker, elongated Tropical Depression Kai-Tak


Credit: NASA JPL/Ed Olsen

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Kai-Tak it measured cloud top temperatures and provided a look at the structure of the elongated storm.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Kai-Tak on Dec. 21 at 1:41 a.m. EST (0641 UTC). Despite the storm weakening and elongating from wind shear, there were still some strong storms within.

Those cloud top temperatures were as cold as minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius). Storms with cloud top temperatures that cold have the capability to produce heavy rainfall.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that "Upper-level [atmospheric] analysis reveals that conditions are becoming unfavorable with high (20-25 knots) vertical wind shear and very weak diffluence aloft."

On Dec. 11 at 4 a.m. EST (0900 UTC) the Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that Kai-Tak had weakened from a tropical storm to a depression. Maximum sustained winds had dropped to near 30 knots (34.5 mph/55.5 kph). Kai-Tak was centered near 6.5 degrees north latitude and 108.8 degrees east longitude. That's about 286 nautical miles south-southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Kai-Tak was moving to the west-southwest at 8 knots (9.2 mph/14.8 kph).

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center said Kai-Tak is expected to maintain current strength before dissipating east of the Malay Peninsula within the next day or so.


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