Tropical Storm Marie, which formed off the southern coast of Mexico Thursday, is forecast to strengthen into a large and major hurricane through the weekend.

Powerful thunderstorms in newborn Tropical Storm Marie were seen stretching toward the top of the troposphere in infrared imagery from NASA’s Aqua satellite.
NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Marie on Aug. 21 at 20:05 UTC when it was still classified as a low pressure area. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard Aqua read cloud top temperatures in the storm, and showed cloud tops as cold as -63F/-52C around the storm’s center and in bands of thunderstorms east and south of the center. AIRS data showed that Marie is located in very warm waters with surface temperatures near 30 Celsius (85 Fahrenheit), which will assist the storm in development and intensification. Sea surface temperatures of at least 26.6C (80F) are needed to maintain a tropical cyclone, while warmer sea surface temperatures can help in evaporation and thunderstorm development.

Marie came together off of Mexico’s southwestern coast at 11 p.m. EDT on August 21 consolidating into Tropical Depression 13-E. By 5 a.m. EDT on August 22, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Marie.

The National Hurricane Center said at 5 p.m. Friday, Marie was located about 365 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico, and was moving west-northwest at 15 miles per hour. Marie had maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour with higher gusts. It is expected to intensify rapidly and become a hurricane by early Saturday and a major hurricane on Sunday.The estimated minimum central pressure is 1004 millibars.

Tropical storm force winds extend 90 miles from the center.

The NHC noted that satellite microwave data showed that Marie has a well-defined low-level ring, which can often be a precursor to rapid intensification if environmental conditions are favorable.

Marie is now the 13th tropical cyclone of the Eastern North Pacific hurricane season. Of those, seven have become hurricanes. It is also one of three active cyclones in the area, with Hurricane Karina and Tropical Storm Lowell to its west.

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