Washington: Two NASA satellites have provided forecasters in Australia with visible and rainfall data as tropical cyclone ‘Frances’ strengthened in the western Timor Sea.
NASA’s Aqua satellite has captured a visible image of the storm that showed a cloud-filled eye, while the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission or GPM core satellite found heaving rainfall occurring.
Frances formed north of Melville Island, Australia on April 27, 2017.
Frances has been gradually intensifying while moving south-southwestward through the Timor Sea.
Frances had maximum sustained winds estimated at 50 knots (57.5 mph) when the GPM core Observatory flew over on April 27, 2017 at 1936 UTC.
A 3-D examination of tropical cyclone Frances’ rainfall structure was constructed using GPM’s Radar (DPR Ku Band).
It showed that the tops of convective storm towers near Frances’ center were reaching heights of over 15 km (9.3 miles). GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.
On April 27, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology or ABM issued a Blue Alert for residents between Kuri Bay and Kalumburu, Western Australia.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology noted, “Tropical Cyclone Frances is expected to continue moving southwest from the Timor Sea into the Indian Ocean during Saturday before weakening on Sunday.”
“The cyclone is expected to remain over water as it moves into the Indian Ocean, however if it takes a more southerly track peripheral gales may affect the northwest Kimberley coast during Saturday morning,” they added.
As Frances moves in a westerly direction it is forecast to move parallel to the coast of Western Australia and remain some distance away from the coastline.