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NASA sees Soudelor reach category 5 typhoon status

NASA’s Aqua satellite and RapidScat instrument analyzed Super typhoon Soudelor’s extent and winds as it reached Category Five typhoon status on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale.

RapidScat is a NASA instrument that flies aboard the International Space Station. RapidScat gathered surface wind speed and direction data on Soudelor on Aug. 3 at 1900 UTC (3 p.m. EDT) when it just west of Mariana Islands. RapidScat measured saw the strongest sustained winds circled the center. Sustained winds at that time were near 135 knots (155 mph/250 kph).

Super typhoon Soudelor

On Aug. 4, 2015, at 4:10 UTC (12:10 a.m. EDT) the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this visible-light image of Super typhoon Soudelor. Credit: Credits: NASA Goddard’s MODIS Rapid Response Team

On Aug. 4 at 4:10 UTC (12:10 a.m. EDT) the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a visible-light image of Super typhoon Soudelor that clearly showed its 12-nautical-mile-wide eye. Thick bands of powerful thunderstorms surrounded the storm and spiraled into the center.

At 0900 (5 a.m. EDT), Super typhoon Soudelor had maximum sustained winds near 140 knots (161.1 mph/ 259.3 kph). Those typhoon-force winds stretched out up to 40 miles from the center, while tropical-storm-force winds extended 185 miles from the center. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center expects the storm to maintain that intensity for another 24 hours.

Soudelor was located near 18.6 North latitude and 138.8. East longitude, about 750 nautical miles (863 miles/1,389 km) from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Soudelor was moving to the west-northwest at 13 knots (14.9 mph/24.0 kph).

This super typhoon was generating extremely rough seas, with maximum significant wave height to 48 feet (14.6 meters)!

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast takes Soudelor on a west-northwesterly path near the Japanese island of Ishigakijima on August 7 and then over northern Taiwan before making landfall in southeastern China on August 8.

The storm is predicted to weaken as it continues on its trek to the west-northwest. Interests in the path of this Super typhoon should prepare for storm surge, heavy rainfall, mudslides in high terrain areas, and typhoon-force winds.

For forecast warnings from the Japan Meteorological Agency, visit: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html. For warnings and watches for Taiwan, visit the Central Weather Bureau website: http://www.cwb.gov.tw/eng/. For warnings in China, visit the China Meteorological Administration website: http://www.cma.gov.cn/en.

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