October 20, 2012 - Tropical Storm Maria (23W) in the Pacific Ocean

Tropical Storm Maria (23W) in the Pacific Ocean

Tropical Storm Maria was approaching Iwo To, Japan on October 16, bringing with it bands of thunderstorms. NASAís Aqua satellite passed over the storm at 0355 UTC (12:55 p.m. local time in Tokyo, Japan) allowing the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to capture this true-color image. High clouds can be seen in the center of circulation, and the storm shows some asymmetry, with the least amount of convection present west of the center.

On Oct. 16 at 0900 UTC (6 p.m. local time), Maria had maximum sustained winds near 63.2 mph (102 km/h). It had passed Iwo To and was located about 155 miles (250 km) north of the island, moving north-northeast at 17.2 mph (27.7 km/h).

Maria was moving around a ridge (elongated area) of high pressure. High pressure circulates in a clockwise direction, and Maria was on the western side of the high, so it curved to the northeast as it continued its travels away from Japan.

By 0845 UTC (4:45 a.m. EDT) on October 18, the rains associated with Tropical Storm Maria were limited to the east of the stormís center, and falling at a rate between .78 and 1.57 inches (20-40 mm) per hour, but no areas of heavy rain remained in the tropical cyclone. The low-level center of the storm was exposed, and a strong wind shear continued to weaken the storm.

At 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT) that same day, Maria's maximum sustained winds were down to 35 knots (~40 mph/65 km/h) and weakening. It was located near 31.9 North and 155.6 East, about 780 nautical miles east of Tokyo, Japan. It was moving to the east and into the open waters of the northern Pacific at a speed of 14 knots (16 mph/26 km/h). By the next day, the combination of strong wind shear and cool sea surface temperatures had caused the storm to dissipate.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 10/16/2012
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC