Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert in Pacific Ocean, West of Tahiti
Formation of a significant tropical cyclone is possible within 160 nm either side of a line from 18.3S 155.7wW to 20.6S 161.5W within the next 12 to 24 hours, although available data does not justify issuance of numbered tropical cyclone warnings at this time.
Winds in the area are estimated to be 25 to 30 knots. METSAT imagery indicates that a circulation center is located near 18.7S 156.4W. The system is moving west-southwestward at 4 knots.
An area of convection has persisted approximately 415 nm west of Tahiti.
Recent animated multispectral imagery shows a well-defined low level circulation center (LLCC) with formative convective banding wrapping into the center.
This LLCC is confirmed by a QUIKSCAT pass showing winds of 25 to 30 knots near the center.
An anti-cylcone aloft, and weak upper-level troughing to the southeast of the disturbance, are providing ample outflow for development.
The system lies in a region of weak to moderate vertical wind shear, warm SST (great than 26c) and significant ocean heat content.
Maximum sustained surface winds are estimated at 25 to 30 knots. Minimum sea level pressure is estimated to be near 1001 mb.
Due to the favorable surface conditon as well as good conditions aloft, the potential for the development of a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is good.