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The central pacific continues to throw up oddities with a very rare January cyclone formation today.  This has happened before, Hurricane Ekeka from 1992 springs to mind. But 01C's formation in the Central Pacific basin, at this time of year, is a very rare event indeed. Coming off the back of the most active Central Pacific season on record too!

01C is located in the southwest of the basin, at around 170°W, and well southwest of Hawaii. The 30kt depression has a strong satellite signature with very deep convection and strong banding features. I think an upgrade to Tropical Storm status is coming very soon. Moderate shear is affecting 01C, meaning strengthening should be slow. CPHC are forecasting a peak of 45kts, though this could end up being too conservative. It looks like the window for strengthening is limited to a few days, as shear levels are forecast to rise significantly then.

The depression is moving slowly northwestwards. This motion is expected to continue over the next few days. Thereafter, there is considerable uncertainty due to the potential interaction between 01C and a developing trough. An eastward motion is forecast in a few days, though the track is subject to great uncertainty. It looks like 01C will remain in the Central Pacific however, and not cross into the Western Pacific.

 

cp0116.thumb.gif.6335e05b15fcfac2479bed2

 

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Pali strengthened to 55kts, but has since weakened to 50kts due to shear. Convection is scarce and is being sheared to the west of the LLCC. Shear is expected to ease over the next day or so, meaning Pali probably won't dissipate. However, troughing will impinge on Pali, supressing outflow, meaning that a very slow weakening trend will continue for the next 5 days.

 

Steering currents are weak. Pali is forecast to drift west then south as it becomemore involved with the trough. The southward motion will put Pali rather near the equator again by day 5.

 

cp0116-1.thumb.gif.5dda3a669c5246c3c3517

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Pali weakened to 40kts. The storm began slowly drifting towards the east, but has since ground to a halt again. It has however, restrengthened to 55kts as shear has lessened and waters remain warm at this low lattitude. There is a chance, over the next 36hrs, that the shear may remain low enough for Pali to become a minimal hurricane, though NHC forecast a 60kt peak in this time (top end tropical storm). As Pali then accelerates southwest towards the equator again, it will weaken, though at day 5 it is expected to still be a 35kt tropical storm just 3°N of the equator. By Day 9 of Pali's life (if it is still around as the forecasts say it will be), Pali won't be very far from where it started!

 

cp0116-2.thumb.gif.5b4db491318a2a892e003

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Not exactly the image one would expect in January! The 2015 Central Pacific hurricane season is just continuing on its same pace in 2016. El Nino has likely been a big player in this development with much higher than average SSTS (sea surface temperatures) at that location.

Pacific_wide_view.thumb.jpg.e1ea09ee5260

Satellite image of the Eastern- and Central Pacific. Source: NOAA.

This system reminds me a little on Hurricane Ekeka in 1993, which also developed in January in an El Nino year in the Central Pacific. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Ekeka

 

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Pali has developed an eye feature, and winds are now at 60kts. It seems likely Pali will become a hurricane before shear increases in about 24hrs. This shear will weaken Pali, but Pali will still be over very warm water so weakening will be slow. Beyond 72hrs, shear may well ease again, which could allow for another intensification phase, if Pali doesn't get too close to the equator. Quite a brisk westwards motion is expected at this time, bringing Pali close to the dateline by day 5.

Impressive little system!

 

20160111.2030.goes15.x.vis1km_high.01CPA

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Pali has become the earliest hurricane on record to form in the Central Pacific, and indeed the northern hemipshere for that matter, with winds of 75kts. Another record shattered! The previous record holder was Ekeka in 1992, which became a hurricane on the 30th January.

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Pali is now a category 2 hurricane with winds of 85kts. The hurricane's eye is cloud filled but well defined, and remains flanked by a solid central dense overcast and strong banding. The hurricane is moving back south towards the equator. Pali is expected to reach just 3°N before turning to the west. It is unclear on just how Pali will respond to being so close to the equator. The official forecast still has Pali as a hurricane in 5 days time, crossing the dateline into the Western Pacific.

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Well it's apparent how Pali has handled moving so close to the equator, and the answer is, not well. The system got sheared apart (in part due to the proximity of Tropical Cyclone 07P in the Southern Pacific). The remnants still lurk at 1°N, but there is no longer a closed circulation as it got stretched out. The remnants will probably fully dissipate on the equator,  but there is a small chance if regeneration if they decide to move west.

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