System 96P has been moving through the Coral Sea near northeastern Australia over the last couple of days, and today, March 14, NASA's Aqua satellite captured the storm as it matured into Tropical Storm Tim.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Cyclone Tim in the Coral Sea on March 13, 2013 at 04:05 UTC (12:05 a.m. EDT). The MODIS image showed a large band of thunderstorms wrapping into the center of circulation from the south and east. Cyclone Tim's northeastern quadrant was brushing Papua New Guinea, and the western quadrant was brushing Queensland Australia's east coast. The MODIS image was created by the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that animated infrared satellite imagery indicated that the low-level center is consolidating and Tim is showing improved deep convective banding of thunderstorms. An eye was spotted using microwave imagery.
On March 14 at 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT), Tim was located 15.2 south latitude and 150.3 east longitude, just 80 nautical miles north of Willis Island, Australia (which is located east of the mainland, Queensland). Maximum sustained winds are near 50 knots (57.5 mph/92.6 kph), and Tim is expected to intensify over the next couple of days before weakening.
Willis Island surface observations from early on March 14 showed peak sustained winds of 37 knots (42.5 mph/68.5 kph) gusting to 45 knots (51.7 mph/83.3 kph).
Tim is expected to move southeast, and pass east of Willis Island, then turn toward the west like a boomerang and head toward Queensland.