Public Release: 

NASA sees Tropical Depression 16 develop in southwestern Caribbean Sea

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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IMAGE: An infrared view of Tropical Depression 16 was taken from the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite on Oct. 4 at 3:10 a.m. EST (0710 UTC) showing strong storms around... view more 

Credit: Credits: NASA/NRL

Infrared imagery from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites showed powerful thunderstorms around the center of Tropical Depression 16 as it developed early on Oct. 4 in the southwestern Caribbean Sea.

On Oct. 4 at 11 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted a Tropical Storm Warning for Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua to Punta Castilla, Honduras.

An infrared view of Tropical Depression 16 was taken from the MODIS or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite on Oct. 4 at 3:10 a.m. EST (0710 UTC). The infrared image showed some strong storms around the center of circulation where cloud top temperatures were as cold as (yellow) minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 degrees Celsius), indicating strong thunderstorms with potential for heavy rainfall.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite analyzed TD16 a minute later and infrared temperature data validated the MODIS findings.

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the NHC made the official announcement that the area of low pressure had become the Atlantic Ocean basin's newest tropical cyclone. At that time, the center of Tropical Depression Sixteen (TD16) was located near 12.2 degrees north latitude and 81.9 degrees west longitude. That's about 25 miles (40 km) south-southwest of San Andres Island, and about 210 miles (340 km) south-southeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras border.

The depression was moving toward the northwest near 7 mph (11 kph) and the NHC said this motion is expected to continue today. On the forecast track, the depression should be nearing the coast of Nicaragua early Thursday, move across northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras late Thursday, and emerge into the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 millibars. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 kph) with higher gusts.

TD16 is forecast to be a big rainmaker for parts of Nicaragua. The NHC said "Rainfall amounts of 15 to 20 inches are expected across portions of Nicaragua, with isolated maximum amounts of 30 inches possible. Across Costa Rica and Panama, 5 to 10 inches of rain are expected, with isolated maximum totals of around 20 inches possible. Across Honduras, rainfall amounts of 2 to 5 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches are expected. This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides."

The depression is expected to become a tropical storm later today (Oct. 4) or tonight.

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For updates on TD 16, visit: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov.

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