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NASA Satellite Catches Australia's Newborn Tropical Storm Edna and Stubborn Fletcher

Northeastern Australia has been watching two tropical low pressure areas over the last several days, and NASA's Aqua satellite captured both in one infrared image. Tropical Storm Edna developed on February 4, while Fletcher, known also as System 94P continued to have a medium chance for development.

On February 3 at 15:53 UTC/10:53 a.m. EST, NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Queensland, Australia and the AIRS or Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument captured infrared data on both storms. System 94P/Fletcher was in the Gulf of Carpentaria and over the Northwest region of Queensland, while newborn Edna formed in the South Pacific Ocean east of Queensland.

This infrared image of Tropical Storm Edna was taken by NOAA's polar orbiting satellite, NOAA-19 on Feb. 4 at 1443 UTC/9:43 a.m.
Image Credit: NRL/NOAA

Tropical Storm Edna Moving Toward New Caledonia

System 93P strengthened between February 3 and 4 into Tropical Depression 12P and then Tropical Storm Edna, northwest New Caledonia. By 1500 UTC/10 a.m. EST Edna was about 392 nautical miles northwest of New Caledonia, near 17.2 south latitude and 161.5 east longitude. Edna had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots/40 mph/62 kph. It was moving to the southeast at 19 knots/21.8 mph/35.1 kph.

NASA's AIRS data showed very cold cloud top temperatures in powerful thunderstorms within Edna that have the potential for heavy rainfall. Infrared data also showed that Edna's circulation has consolidated and convection has deepened/strengthened with bands of thunderstorms, mostly north of the center, were wrapping more tightly into the low-level center of circulation.

AIRS data also showed that sea surface temperatures were around 28C/82.4F, warm enough to contribute to strengthening the system. Sea surface temperatures need to be at least 26.6C/80F in order for a tropical cyclone to maintain intensity. Warmer temperatures than that can help in increased evaporation with the formation of thunderstorms that make up a tropical cyclone. However, as Edna continues tracking southward, the storm will run into cooler sea surface temperatures that will squelch any significant intensification.

Text credit: Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
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