The 2016 hurricane season seems to have arrived five months ahead of usual. The first Tropical Depression "1C" developed in the central Pacific southwest of Hawaii on January 7, 2016 (UTC) and strengthened into a tropical storm by the next day. Tropical Storm "Pali" is not near land and is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by January 10.
Experts think the early tropical storm occurrence is related to the strong El Niño weather event. Kevin Kodama, NWS/CPHC hurricane forecaster, said warm ocean temperatures near the equator have caused the development.
Tropical Storm "Pali" developing southwest of Hawaii, January 8, 2016. Image credit: NASA/Suomi NPP/VIIRS
Tropical Storm "Pali", January 9, 2016, 14:30 UTC. Image credit: UW-CIMSS
Pali is the third such system to develop in January in more than 40 years. According to Kodama, the last January tropical storm in the central Pacific developed in 1992 during the last significant El Niño. Before that, such development occurred in 1989.
On January 8 at 09:35 UTC (4:35 a.m. EST) NASA's Terra satellite measured temperatures of Pali's cloud top temperatures between -56.7 and -62.2 °C (-70 and -80 °F) around the center. Image credit: NASA/NRL
Tropical storm "Pali" was located approximately 2 255 km (1 400 miles) southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii and 1 070 km (665 miles) south-southwest of Johnston Island tracking west-northwestward at 7 km/h (5 mph) on January 9 at 15:00 UTC, according to Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC).
On January 7, RapidScat saw Tropical Depression 1C's strongest winds (red) southwest of the center at 108 km/h (67.1 mph). Image credit: NASA JPL, Doug Tyler
The system was packing maximum sustained winds of 75 km/h (45 mph) with gusts reaching 92.6 km/h (57.5 mph) and its minimum central pressure was estimated at 1 000 hPa. Winds of tropical force extend up to 220 km (140 miles) out of its center.
Tropical Storm "Pali" 6-day forecast. Image credit: NWS/NOAA
Pali is expected to slow down and turn westward during the day. The storm will continue to weaken and most likely become a tropical depression by January 10. Easterly vertical wind shear of 27.8 km/h (17.3 mph) in the area should hold over the next 24 to 36 hours, according to CPHC and it's likely it will be difficult to reestablish persistent deep convection near the center of Pali. After that, the system's intensity should remain constant, and convection could redevelop.
Featured image: Tropical Storm "Pali" developing southwest of Hawaii, January 8, 2016. Image credit: NASA/Suomi NPP/VIIRS
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