NASA-NOAA satellite sees tropical depression 22 strengthening in gulf of Mexico

September 18, 2020

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided an infrared image of Tropical Depression 22 in the Gulf of Mexico during the early morning hours of Sept. 18. TD22 is expected to become a tropical storm, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

NASA's Night-Time View  

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard Suomi NPP provided a nighttime image of Tropical Depression 22. The nighttime image taken on Sept. 18 at 3:40 a.m. EDT (0740 UTC) showed Tropical Depression 22, centered in the Gulf of Mexico, east of northern Mexico.

The image was created using the NASA Worldview application at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

By 11 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center noted satellite imagery showed Tropical Depression 22 was getting better organized, with gradually increasing convective banding (of thunderstorms) in the northeastern semicircle.

NHC Senior Hurricane Specialist Jack Beven noted, "Given the lack of organization seen in earlier scatterometer data, the intensity will be held at 30 knots pending the data from the next set of scatterometer overpasses.  It should be noted that the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft that was scheduled to investigate the depression had to turn back after getting hit by lightning."

TD22's Status on Friday, Sept. 18

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Depression 22 was located near latitude 23.8 degrees north and longitude 93.9 degrees west. The depression is moving toward the north-northeast near 7 mph (11 kph), and this general motion is expected through early Saturday. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 kph) with higher gusts. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 millibars.

TD22's Forecast

A slow westward motion is forecast to begin late Saturday afternoon or Saturday night, and this motion will likely continue into early next week. Strengthening is forecast during the next few days, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later today. The system could be near or at hurricane strength by Sunday.

NHC Key Messages for TD22

The National Hurricane Center issued three key messages for Tropical Depression 22:

Tropical Depression 22 is expected to strengthen to a tropical storm, and possibly a hurricane, while moving slowly over the western Gulf of Mexico during the next few days.

There is an increasing risk of heavy rainfall and flooding along the Texas coast from Sunday through at least the middle of next week as the system is forecast to move slowly near the Texas coast.

While it is too early to determine what areas could see direct wind and storm surge impacts from this system, interests throughout the western Gulf of Mexico should monitor the progress of this system and future updates to the forecast.
About NASA's EOSDIS Worldview

NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application provides the capability to interactively browse over 700 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers and then download the underlying data. Many of the available imagery layers are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it looks "right now."

NASA Researches Earth from Space

For more than five decades, NASA has used the vantage point of space to understand and explore our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. NASA brings together technology, science, and unique global Earth observations to provide societal benefits and strengthen our nation. Advancing knowledge of our home planet contributes directly to America's leadership in space and scientific exploration.

For updated forecasts, visit:

By Rob Gutro 
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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