November 14, 2013 - Tropical Storm Sonia (18E) over Mexico

Tropical Storm Sonia (18E) over Mexico

Short-lived Tropical Storm Sonia approached landfall in Mexico at its maximum intensity on November 3, 2013. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying aboard the Terra satellite flew over the storm at 18:10 UTC (1:10 p.m. EST) that same day and captured this true-color image.

At the time the image was captured, Sonia carried one-minute maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (72 km/h), making it a weak tropical storm. The storm carried a cloud-filled center of circulation and had a weak apostrophe-shape. A mid-level elongated area of low pressure was pushing the storm to the north-northeast and guiding it toward land. The wind shear was also obstructing forward motion, elongating the storm, and beginning to break it apart.

When Tropical Storm Sonia made landfall near El Dorado, Mexico at about 0500 UTC (midnight EST) on November 4, it clung to Tropical Storm status by a mere one mph, arriving with one-minute sustained winds of 40 mph (64 km/h). When sustained winds drop below 39 mph (47 km/h), a tropical storm turns into a tropical depression, and Sonia crossed that line only a few hours after landfall, and by 0900 UTC (4:00 a.m. EST) sustained winds were 35 mph. By 1500 UTC (10:00 a.m. EST) the storm had dissipated, and the remnants were bringing rain to inland Mexico.

Although weak and short lived – Sonia began as a tropical depression on November 1 and was mere remnants by the morning of November 4 – the storm was a drencher, and dropped heavy rainfall in southwestern Mexico, in areas already suffering from earlier flooding and mudslides. The Mexican National Weather Service (SMN) reported over 5 inches of rain fell near Culiacan, Sinaloa, associated with Sonia's landfall. Minor flooding has also been reported along the some areas on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 11/3/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC