Public Release: 

NASA saw Tropical Depression 3-E coming together

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

The third tropical depression of the active Eastern Pacific Ocean hurricane season formed and NASA's RapidScat saw its winds coming together as it formed. NASA's Terra satellite provided an image of the storm's cloud extent showing bands of thunderstorms wrapping into its center.

RapidScat is a scatterometer instrument that flies aboard the International Space Station and can measure surface winds over the ocean. On June 10 from 07:28 to 09:01 UTC (3:28 to 5:01 a.m. EDT) RapidScat collected wind data on the strengthening tropical low pressure area known as System 94E. Strongest sustained winds during that time period were near 15 meters per second (mps)/33.5 mph/54 kph) in areas north and east of the center. Sustained winds around the rest of the low were weaker. The RapidScat image also showed that the low had good circulation.

As System 94E continued organizing NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead at 17:25 UTC (1:25 p.m. EDT). The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard captured infrared data on the tropical low pressure area, revealing a powerful, thick band of thunderstorms spiraling into the center from the northern quadrant of the storm. The storm continued to consolidate overnight and by June 11, Tropical Depression 03E was born.

At 5 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC) the National Hurricane Center (NHC) placed the center of Tropical Depression Three-E near latitude 13.1 North and longitude 100.2 West. That's about 265 miles (425 km) south of Acapulco, Mexico. Maximum sustained winds remain near 35 mph (55 kph) with higher gusts. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1003 millibars (29.62 inches). The depression is moving toward the northwest near 8 mph (13 kph). A turn toward the north and a decrease in forward speed are expected to occur later today or tonight.

TD03E is close enough to the coast to cause ocean swells, bring rainfall and gusty winds. The NHC noted that locally heavy rains could spread over portions of the southern coast of Mexico, primarily in the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, during the next couple of days. In addition, swells associated with the depression are expected to increase near the coast of southern Mexico during the next few days.

These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later today.

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