NASA’s GPM core satellite examined rainfall in Tropical Cyclone Gita soon after the storm came together. Tropical Cyclone Gita formed near American Samoa in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean and triggered warnings and watches on Feb. 9. A Tropical Cyclone Warning is in force for Niue.
The GPM or Global Precipitation Measurement mission core observatory satellite passed above Gita on February 9, 2018 at 9:26 a.m. EST (1426 UTC). GPM found heaviest rainfall from storms northwest of the center. In the northwestern quadrant, rain was falling at a rate of greater than 1 to 1.6 inches per hour (25 to 40 millimeters per hour). Rainfall in fragmented bands of thunderstorms east of the center were dropping rainfall up to 1 inch per hour (25 millimeters per hour).
GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA.
On Feb. 9 at 9 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) Tropical Cyclone Gita was located near 14.8 south latitude and 172.3 west longitude. That’s about 134 nautical miles west-southwest of Pago Pago. Gita was moving to the east at 17.2 mph (15 knots/27.7 kph) and had maximum sustained winds near 51.7 mph (45 knots/83.3 kph).
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) predicts Gita will rapidly intensify to hurricane-strength over the next day and turn southwest then west toward Tonga. The JWTC forecast takes Gita’s center close to the island of Tonga on Feb. 12 and the storm is expected to track south of Fiji.