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NASA Sees a Lop-sided Tropical Depression Molave Form

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, August 7, 2015

On Aug. 4, 2015, at 12:25 UTC (8:25 a.m. EDT) NASA's Terra satellite captured this infrared image of Tropical Depression Molave. The red and yellow colors indicate coldest temperatures. Credits: NRL/NASA

The fifteenth tropical depression of the Northwestern Pacific typhoon season formed on August 7, 2015 as NASA's Terra passed overhead. The storm appears lop-sided, however, because wind shear pushed clouds north and northeast of its center.

On August 4 at 12:25 UTC (8:25 a.m. EDT) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured an infrared image of Tropical Depression Molave. The strongest thunderstorms with the coldest cloud top temperatures (that were highest in the atmosphere) were north and northeast of the center of circulation. Molave also appeared to be elongated in the image.

The reason that the strongest thunderstorms are displaced from the center is because of moderate (20 to 25 knots) southerly vertical wind shear.

Tropical Depression Molave formed at 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT). By 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT), Molave was located near 23.9 North latitude and 146.7 East longitude, about 300 nautical miles (345 miles/555.6 km) east of Iwo To, Japan. It had maximum sustained winds near 30 knots (34.5 mph/55.5 kph) and was moving to the north-northwest at 15 knots (17.2 mph/27.7 kph).

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast calls for the storm to move northwest and then turn to the northeast on August 9. Long term forecasts take the storm parallel to Japan while its center remains far from land.

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