Public Release: 

Tropical Cyclone Ella wrapped in NASA imagery

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Tropical Cyclone Ella has large bands of thunderstorms wrapping around the center and from the east of center in imagery from the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite.

On May 11 at 0136 UTC (May 10 at 9:36 p.m. EDT) the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided a visible-light image of Tropical Cyclone Ella in the South Pacific. Although an eye wasn't visible in the VIIRS image, microwave satellite imagery revealed a well-defined eye about 20 nautical miles in diameter.

In addition to visible imagery, animated multispectral satellite imagery showed developing thunderstorms with curved banding wrapping into the defined low level circulation center.

At 0300 UTC on May 11 (11 p.m. EDT, May 10) Tropical Cyclone Ella's maximum sustained winds increased to near 63 mph (55 knots/102 kph) as it continued moving to the west at 2.3 mph (2 knots /3.7 kph). It was centered near 14.4 degrees east latitude and 177.0 degrees west longitude, about 358 nautical miles northeast of Suva, Fiji.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center said that "Environmental analysis indicates [Ella] is in an area of favorable sea surface temperatures and fair outflow, however, vertical wind shear is moderate (15 to 20 knots)."

Ella has is expected to track to the southwest over the next 12 to 24 hours as an elongated area of low pressure or trough moves into the region and re-orients the steering flow. Ella is expected to weaken in three days as it approaches Fiji.

Fiji Meteorological Service issued a gale warning remains for Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands. A strong wind warning remains in effect for Lau and Lomaiviti group and the eastern part of Viti Levu.

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