Tag Archives: Howland Island

Hurricane Pali Weakens As It Nears the Equator

Hurricane Pali weakened quickly on Wednesday as it moved closer to the Equator and it is now classified as a tropical storm.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Pali was located at latitude 2.7°N and longitude 172.2°W which put it about 330 miles (530 km) east-northeast of Howland Island.  Pali was moving toward the south-southwest at 9 m.p.h. (17 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 993 mb.

As Hurricane Pali moved closer to the Equator, it moved into an area of strong vertical wind shear and weakened.  A large area of thunderstorms east-northeast of Samoa could be consolidating into a new tropical cyclone.  That area of thunderstorms is generating a lot of upper level divergence which is spreading across the Equator as strong upper level winds from the south.  Those upper level winds created strong vertical wind shear over Pali as the hurricane moved south on Wednesday.  The wind shear pushed the upper portion of Tropical Storm Pali toward the north and disrupted the vertical integrity of Pali’s circulation.  The lack of vertical integrity resulted in a significant decrease in the surface wind speed on Wednesday.

The environment around Tropical Storm Pali will be unfavorable for intensification for the next several days.  The vertical wind shear will continue and it could increase if a tropical cyclone develops east of Samoa.  Tropical Storm Pali is expected to continue to weaken on Thursday.  However, if the surface circulation remains intact for another 48 hours, the wind shear could decrease during the weekend.  The Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C and so there is sufficient energy to support intensification, if the upper level winds decrease.  If there is still a surface circulation on Saturday, then it could begin to reorganize and get stronger.  Alternatively, if the wind shear gets stronger, Tropical Storm Pali could dissipate over the weekend.

A subtropical ridge to the northwest of Pali is steering the tropical storm toward the south.  As Pali weakens, the low level circulation will be steered more by winds closer to the surface.  Those winds are blowing from the east and Tropical Storm Pali or its remnants are expected to move toward the west during the next few days.