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NASA observes a quieter Atlantic to start the week; Hector in east Pacific

On August 13, the Atlantic tropics are quieter than they were the previous week, when four low pressure areas were marching across the ocean basin.

Satellite imagery shows two lows in the Atlantic as Tropical Storm Hector spins in the Eastern Pacific Ocean with System 95E near the Mexican coast.

This image of the Atlantic Ocean and eastern Pacific Ocean was created by NASA's GOES Project using NOAA GOES-13 and GOES-15 satellite imagery on Aug. 13, 2012 at 7:45 a.m. EDT. The remnants of Tropical Depression 7 in the Caribbean Sea, and the low pressure area called System 93L in the eastern Atlantic. In the eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Hector looks disorganized and System 95E is near the Mexican coast.

Credit: Credit: NASA GOES Project

The NOAA GOES-13 satellite sits in a fixed orbit over the eastern U.S. and provides infrared and visible imagery of the Atlantic Ocean basin continuously. At the same time, NOAA's GOES-15 satellite covers the western U.S. and eastern Pacific Ocean. At NASA's GOES Project, the data from the satellites were combined to create a "full-disk view" of the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Ocean. NASA's GOES Project is located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and creates images and animations from the two GOES satellites.

A visible and infrared image of the Atlantic Ocean and eastern Pacific Ocean were combined to give a complete picture of the tropics on both sides of the continental U.S. on August 13, 2012 at 7:45 a.m. EDT.

Tropical Depression 7 and System 93L

The GOES-13 part of the image, which is in visible light, shows two areas of disturbances in the tropics. The remnants of Tropical Depression 7 in the Caribbean Sea, and the low pressure area called System 93L in the eastern Atlantic.

Tropical Depression 7 (TD7) weakened to a remnant low pressure area on Saturday, August 11 at 11 a.m. EDT. It brought squalls of wind and rain to the Lesser Antilles over the weekend. On Monday, August 13, the remnants were moving over the central Caribbean Sea and are producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms extending from the central Caribbean northward to Hispaniola. The National Hurricane Center noted that "environmental conditions are not expected to be conducive for regeneration, and this system has a low chance, 10 percent, of becoming a tropical cyclone again during the next 48 hours as it moves westward near 20 mph." In the GOES-13 imagery from August 13, TD7's remnants appear elongated, which is likely from wind shear.

The low pressure area called System 93L ran into adverse atmospheric conditions over the weekend of August 11-12, 2012, but conditions are expected to improve over the next couple of days. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that "Shower activity remains limited in association with a broad area of low pressure located about 1,200 miles west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands." The NHC gives System 93L just a ten percent chance of organizing over the next two days into a tropical depression. Meanwhile, System 93L continues to move west-northwestward at around 20 mph.

Eastern Pacific's Tropical Storm Hector and System 95E

The Atlantic Ocean's Tropical Storm Ernesto changed names. Ernesto crossed Mexico from the Gulf of Mexico to the eastern Pacific as a remnant low pressure system. On Saturday, August 11 at 1 p.m. EDT, the low re-strengthened into tropical depression 8E. At that time, Tropical Depression 8E was located about 150 miles (245 km) southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, near 17.5 North and 106.0 West. Twelve hours later at 11 p.m. EDT, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Hector becoming the eighth tropical storm of the season.

By 5 a.m. EDT on August 13, Hector's maximum sustained winds decreased to near 40 mph (65 kmh). Hector was located near latitude 18.1 north and longitude 111.4 west, about 55 miles (90 km) west of Sorocco Island. Hector is moving west at 7 mph (11 kmh) and is expected to turn to the west-northwest and slow over the next couple of days. Wind shear appears to be taking its toll on Hector as it appears somewhat elongated in the GOES-15 satellite image from August 13. Wind shear is expected to remain strong over the next couple of days, which should keep Hector from strengthening and may weaken it to a remnant low pressure area.

A weak area of low pressure called System 95E is located about 175 miles southeast of Acapulco, Mexico continues to produce showers and thunderstorms. System 95E appears to have a tight circulation on the GOES-15 satellite imagery on August 13. The NHC gives System 95E a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next couple of days, while it moves to the west-northwest at 10 mph.

Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
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