May 14, 2019 02:01 PM EDT
The location of Australia's world-famous Great Barrier Reef is in the Coral Sea, east of Queensland and on May 14, Tropical Cyclone Ann was moving over it. From their orbit in space, NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites passed over the Southern Pacific Ocean obtained visible and infrared imagery of the storm as it moved toward the Queensland coast.
The world's most extensive coral reef system is the Great Barrier Reef. The Reef is made up of more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands that cover more than stretching for over 1,429 miles (2,300 kilometers).
NASA's Aqua satellites obtained an infrared look at the tropical storm and showed where the strongest storms were located within Tropical Cyclone Ann on May 13 at 0341 UTC (May 12 at 11:41 p.m. EDT). The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite analyzed cloud top temperatures and discovered cloud top temperatures of loudest thunderstorms as cold as or colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius) circling the center and in a broader band of thunderstorms north of the center. Cloud top temperatures that cold indicate intense storms that can create heavy rain.
The cause of weakening in Ann is because it has run into increased vertical wind shear, that is, winds blowing at different directions at different levels of the atmosphere tearing at the storm's structure. Also, there is dry air moving into Tropical Cyclone Ann at low and mid-levels of the atmosphere preventing the development of thunderstorms that fuel the storm.
The Australia Bureau of Meteorology or ABM noted: "Ex-tropical cyclone Ann expected to bring damaging winds and heavy rainfall to parts of northeast Queensland" and issued a Severe Weather Warning for damaging winds and heavy rainfall. The warning is for residents in parts of Peninsula, North Tropical Coast, and Tablelands and Herbert and Lower Burdekin Forecast Districts.
More warnings in effect on May 14 include a Gale Warning for the Peninsula Coast and Cooktown Coast, and a Strong Wind Warning for the Cairns Coast, Townsville Coast, and Mackay Coast.
Winds and heavy rainfall are parts of the local impacts. ABM cited that damaging winds, with peak gusts of around 90 kph (56 mph) may develop during Wednesday morning between about Lockhart river and Cooktown, as well as Lizard Island. The winds should gradually ease during Wednesday afternoon as the low moves across the Cape York Peninsula.
Also expected to develop along the coast and ranges between the Lockhart River and Port Douglas Tuesday night, May 18 are areas of heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding and persist through Wednesday, May 15.
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