Esther – Southern Pacific Ocean

Feb. 27, 2020 – NASA Follows Ex-Tropical Storm Esther’s Slow Trek

NASA’s Aqua satellite has been tracking the life of now Ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther since it developed in the Gulf of Carpentaria and made landfall on the eastern side of the Northern Territory on Feb. 24. Aqua continues to provide forecasters with imagery of the storm’s slow westerly movement through the Northern Territory.

On Feb. 27, the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite provided a visible image of Esther that showed the storm’s center of circulation was nearing the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf and the border between the Northern Territory and Western Australia (NT/WA). Ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther’s strongest storms were in the western part of the Northern Territory where it has triggered a flood watch. However, Esther is a large system, so its clouds extended across the entire territory.

On Feb. 27, 2020, the MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite provided a visible image of Ex-Tropical Storm Esther tracking slowly through Australia’s Northern Territory. Credit: NASA Worldview

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM)  reported at 7 a.m. EST/9:30 p.m. ACST, Ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther was located over land about 68 miles/110 km west-northwest of Timber Creek and 70 km/43 miles east of the NT/WA border, moving west at about kph/6.2 mph.

ABM said, “The system is expected to continue moving west into the eastern Kimberley region on Friday [Feb. 28] morning. The low is expected to strengthen overnight as it draws in moisture from the Timor Sea.”

ABM cautions heavy rainfall may cause flash flooding over the Gregory and Daly Districts tonight [Feb.27] and Friday morning. Widespread rainfall of 50 to 150 mm/ ~2 to 6 inches with isolated amounts up to 200 mm/7.8 inches are expected, with the heaviest rainfall likely to develop tonight and tomorrow morning. “Damaging winds averaging 50 to 60 kph/31 to 37 mph with peak gusts of around 90 kph/56 mph are possible with thunderstorms in the western Gregory and southwest Daly District.

Areas of heavy rainfall and damaging winds are expected to contract westwards during Friday.”

A Flood Watch is in effect for the Carpentaria, Bonaparte and North West Coastal Rivers. Locations which may be affected include Darwin, Palmerston, Wadeye, Nauiyu, Kalkarindji and Pine Creek.

NASA’s Aqua satellite is one in a fleet of NASA satellites that provide data for hurricane research.

Tropical cyclones are the most powerful weather event on Earth. NASA’s expertise in space and scientific exploration contributes to essential services provided to the American people by other federal agencies, such as hurricane weather forecasting.

For updated forecasts from ABM, visit:

Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.