Shortly after NASA's Terra satellite passed over Tropical Storm Pali it strengthened into a record-breaking hurricane.
On Jan. 11 at 22:30 UTC (5:30 p.m. EST) the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of strengthening Tropical Storm Pali in the Central Pacific Ocean. On Jan. 11 at 10 p.m. EST (5 p.m. HST/Jan 12 at 0300 UTC) Pali became the earliest hurricane on record in the central Pacific basin far to the southwest of Hawaii. In the MODIS image, Pali's eye was visible surrounded by a strong circle of thunderstorms and a thick band of thunderstorms spiraled into the low level center from the western quadrant.
NOAA's Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecaster Wroe noted "after exhibiting a rather well defined eye through the evening…a recent burst of deep convection around the center of Hurricane Pali has caused the eye to become cloud filled…likely due to southwesterly vertical wind shear of around 15 knots."
On Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. EST (5 a.m. HST/1500 UTC) the center of Hurricane Pali was located near latitude 6.8 north and longitude 171.4 west. That's about 695 miles (1,120 km) south of Johnston Island and 1,345 miles (2,170 km) southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii. Maximum sustained winds are near 90 mph (150 kph). Slow weakening is expected through Thursday morning, Jan. 14. The estimated minimum central pressure is 979 millibars. Pali was moving toward the south near 7 mph and is expected to gradually turn to the southwest.
CPHC said that although Pali will remain over warm sea surface temperatures of 28 to 29 Celsius (82.4 to 84.2 Fahrenheit) along the forecast track…ships indicates a modest Increase in wind shear that could produce some weakening during the next couple of days as it moves toward the equator. For updated forecasts, visit: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc.