The National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded an area of disturbed weather in the Caribbean to tropical depression eighteen and then to tropical storm Rina on October 23, 2011. The TRMM satellite flew over the forming tropical cyclone on October 23, 2011 at 1728 UTC (1:28 p.m. EDT).
This infrared image of the eastern half of Tropical Storm Rina was taken on Oct. 24 at 2:47 a.m. EDT from the AIRS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. It shows a very large area of strong convection and thunderstorms around the center (purple) of circulation. Cloud top temperatures were colder than -63F (-52C) in that area, indicating strong thunderstorms and heavy rainfall. Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
At 11 a.m. EDT on Oct. 24, Rina's maximum sustained winds were near 45 mph (75 kmh). Those tropical storm-force winds extend out 85 miles (140 km) from the center, making Rina a small tropical storm over 170 miles in diameter.
There are a couple of factors steering Rina through the Caribbean Sea. In the mid-level of the atmosphere there's a ridge (elongated area) of high pressure building over the northern Gulf of Mexico, which is expected to turn Rina to the west-northwest. The NHC noted that as the ridge moves eastward in a couple of days, it will take Rina northwest, then northward. The NHC expects Rina to become a hurricane tomorrow.
Images and video of the birth of Tropical Storm Rina at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/archives/2011/h2011_Rina.html ALSO on Facebook and Twitter as NASAHurricane
Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
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