Last update: August 21st, 2019 at 2:00 am
Despite fighting adverse conditions which resulted in significant weakening on January 5 – 6, 2016, Tropical Cyclone Ula made a roaring comeback by January 10, when it intensified to become the first Category 4 storm of 2016. At that time it spun over the South Pacific Ocean, carrying maximum sustained winds near 132 mph (213 km/h).
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of Tropical Cyclone Ula on January 11. The image reveals that Ula’s eye had begun to fill with clouds. A band of powerful thunderstorms circled the eye but were more concentrated in the southern quadrant. Although the storm was no longer at Category 4 strength, both Mare and Ile des Pins, New Caledonia remained under a Yellow Alert for high ocean swells.
By 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) on January 11, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said that animated visible satellite imagery showed a deteriorating convective structure and the eye had become cloud-covered. A microwave satellite image showed the eye feature was weakening on the northern side, with all deep convection displaced to the southern side of the center. Ula’s maximum sustained winds were near 103.6 mph (166.7 km/h) and weakening.
On January 12, the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) reported that Tropical Cyclone Ula remained active and was located about 298 miles east-northeast of Kingston Island. The storm was moving southeastward at about 15 mph (24 km/h). According to the JTWC, satellite imagery on January 12 showed a fully exposed low level circulation center, with convection sheared to the southeast. The upper level environment and surface conditions remained unfavorable, with cool sea surface temperatures, strong wind shear, and weak outflow. The PDC reports that Tropical Cyclone Ula is forecast to continue moving southeastward through the next 12-24 hours and will complete extra-tropical transition by the end of that time.