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NASA's RapidScat Sees 'Left-handed' Tropical Depression 8E

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On July 28, 2015, the RapidScat instrument observed Tropical Depression 8E's strongest winds on the eastern side of the storm (yellow) while winds were much weaker (blue) on the western side. Credits: NASA JPL, Doug Tyler

Looking down from its perch on the International Space Station, the RapidScat instrument gathered surface wind data on the Eastern Pacific Ocean's Tropical Depression 8E. RapidScat data showed that the storm appeared "left-handed" – with the strongest winds on the eastern (or left) side, while winds on the western side of the storm were much weaker.

On July 28, the RapidScat instrument observed Tropical Depression 8E's strongest winds on the eastern side of the storm near tropical-storm strength. Sustained winds on that side were between 18 and 21 meters per second (40 to 46 mph/55 to 75 kph). Conversely, winds on the western side of the storm were between 3 and 9 meters per second (6.7 and 20.3 mph/10.8 and 32.4 kph)!

The depression was been battling northwesterly wind shear when RapidScat passed overhead and continued to battle it the next day.

At 5 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC) on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, the center of Tropical Depression Eight-E was located near latitude 16.9 North and longitude 132.5 West. That puts the center near about 1525 miles (2,450 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that maximum sustained winds were near 35 mph (55 kph) with higher gusts on the storm's strongest side. The NHC expects little change in strength over the next 24 hours.

The depression is moving toward the west near 13 mph (20 kph) toward a dry, stable environment, which will sap the depression of strength. So, 8E is expected to continue moving west until it dissipates sometime on Thursday, July 30.

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