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NASA sees Hurricane Celia headed for Central Pacific

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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IMAGE: On July 11 at 6:05 p.m. EDT the Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible light image of Hurricane Celia. view more

Credit: Credits: NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team

The Suomi NPP and Aqua satellites captured visible and infrared data on Hurricane Celia as it continues to head west toward the Central Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane Celia is currently in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, but once it passes west of 140 degrees west longitude, warnings on the system will be issued by NOAA's Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

On July 11 at 22:05 UTC (6:05 p.m. EDT) the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA-DOD's Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible light image of Hurricane Celia that showed a cloud-filled eye with powerful bands of thunderstorms wrapping around the low level center. The VIIRS image also showed a large band of thunderstorms that extended to the south, wrapping into the storms' eastern quadrant.

On July 11 at 21:29 UTC (5:29 p.m. EDT) the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared data of Celia's cloud top temperatures. The data was made into a false-colored image that showed the coldest, strongest, highest thunderstorm cloud tops in purple wrapping around the center. The color indicated that those thunderstorm tops were as cold as minus 63 Fahrenheit (minus 53 Celsius). NASA research has shown that storms that high in the atmosphere have the ability to generate heavy rain.

At 5 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC) on July 12 the center of Hurricane Celia was located near 16.2 north latitude and 127.9 west longitude. That's about 1,260 miles (2,025 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico. It was moving to the west-northwest at 10 mph (17 kph) and NOAA's National Hurricane Center (NHC) expects Celia to turn toward the northwest later today, with this motion continuing Tuesday night and Wednesday. Maximum sustained winds were near 100 mph (155 kph).

NHC forecasts weakening over the next two days and Celia could weaken to a tropical storm on Wednesday.

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