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NASA satellite sees a rooster in Tropical Cyclone Solo

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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IMAGE: On April 10 at 02:45 UTC, the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Solo in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. view more

Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Tropical Cyclone Solo looks like a rooster in visible and infrared imagery taken from NASA's Aqua satellite on April 10. Solo formed in the Coral Sea and is giving several islands something to crow about, because it has triggered watches already in Solomon Islands.

In the Solomon Islands today, April 10, a tropical disturbance watch was in effect for Rennell and Bellona, Temotu, Makira, Central, Guadalcanal and Malaita. For additional information visit the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services website at: http://www.met.gov.sb/. There are currently no warnings in effect for New Caledonia, but because Solo is expected to move toward the island, warnings are expected. For additional forecast updates in New Caledona, visit the Meteo France web page: http://www.meteo.nc/cyclone/phenomene-en-cours.

On April 10, when Aqua passed over the Southwestern Pacific Ocean, two instruments aboard gathered data on the newborn tropical cyclone. In visible imagery from the MODIS or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument aboard Aqua, the center of the storm was circled by powerful thunderstorms, and a band of thunderstorms extended from the southeast out from the storm to the northeast, resembling a neck and head of a rooster. Another band of thunderstorms wrapping into the center from the northwest to the northern quadrant of the storm resembled a feathered tail.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite saw cloud top temperatures as cold as 210 kelvin (-63.1F/-81.6C) in powerful thunderstorms circling Solo's center and in bands of thunderstorms east and northwest of the center. Previous NASA research has shown that thunderstorms that high (and that cold) have the ability to generate heavy rainfall.

On April 10 at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT), Solo's maximum sustained winds had already reached 45 knots (51.7 mph/83.3 kph). It was centered near 16.4 south latitude and 160.6 east longitude, about 484 nautical miles (557 miles/896 km) northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia. It is moving to the south at 13 knots (15 mph/24 kph) and is expected to turn to the southeast.

Solo's winds are expected to peak near 55 knots (63.2 mph/102 kph) on April 11, before weakening as a result of increasing vertical wind shear when it interacts with a deep mid-latitude trough (elongated area) of low pressure and cooler sea surface temperatures. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect those two factors to dissipate the storm by April 14.

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