News Release

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Ella affecting American Samoa

Peer-Reviewed Publication

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Terra Image of Ella

image: NASA's Terra satellite passed over Ella on May 9 at 2210 UTC and saw a somewhat elongated center of circulation located west of American Samoa. A band of thunderstorms east of the center were affecting the U.S. territory. view more 

Credit: Credits: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response

NASA's Terra satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Ella in the Southern Pacific Ocean and visible light imagery on May 9 revealed thick bands of thunderstorms over the islands of American Samoa.

When NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead on May 9 at 2210 UTC (6:10 p.m. EDT), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument aboard took a visible light picture of Ella. The image showed the somewhat elongated center of Ella's circulation was west of American Samoa. A band of thunderstorms east of the center were affecting the U.S. territory that includes seven South Pacific islands and atolls.

NOAA's National Weather Service in American Samoa issued a high surf advisory for Tutuila, Aunuu, Manua and Swains on May 10. A high surf advisory remains in effect for south facing shores of all islands. The advisory means that large surfs of 10 to 14 feet with locally higher sets will impact south facing shores of all islands due to large south swells. These swells and rip currents are expected to continue until the afternoon on Friday, May 12.

On May 10 at 0300 UTC (May 9 at 11 p.m. EDT), the center of Ella was located about 217 nautical miles west of Pago Pago, American Samoa, near 14.8 degrees south latitude and 174.4 degrees west longitude. Maximum sustained winds were near 45 knots (52 mph/83 kph). It was moving to the west at 10 knots (11.5 mph/18.5 kph) and was moving toward Fiji.

Fiji has already posted warnings in advance of Ella. A tropical cyclone warning is in force for Lau and Lomaivit group, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby islands.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that the storm will not intensify much further, and will dissipate over Fiji.


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