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NASA sees the wind shear affecting Tropical Storm Kujira

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NASA's Aqua satellite gathered infrared data on Tropical Storm Kujira as it moved in a northerly direction in the South China Sea on June 22. Infrared data showed strongest convection was displaced from the center by vertical wind shear.

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Northwestern Pacific Ocean and South China Sea on June 22 at 05:59 UTC (1:59 a.m. EDT). When it did, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument gathered temperature data on the storm in infrared light. The data showed that the strongest storms were southwest of the low-level center of circulation. The strongest storms have the coldest cloud top temperatures, indicating they are highest in the troposphere. Cloud tops with temperatures as cold as -63F/-52C have the ability to generate heavy rainfall and were seen southwest of the center. AIRS showed the cloud extent spanned a large area, covering all of Hainan Island south into the South China Sea and west, over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

On June 22 at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT), Tropical Storm Kujira had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph/62 kph). It was located about 286 nautical miles east-southeast of Hanoi, Vietnam and was moving to the northwest at 8 knots (9.2 mph/14.8 kph).

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) forecast calls for Kujira to make landfall and track over the eastern half Hainan Island, while moving in a northwesterly direction. The JTWC expects Kujira to cross the Gulf of Tonkin where warm sea surface temperatures are expected to help it maintain intensity, before making final landfall into mainland China, west of Qinzhou.

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