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Typhoon Ponsona 31W Near Northern Mariana Islands
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Typhoon Ponsona (31W) Near Northern Mariana Islands

February 12, 2013
At the time these images were acquired on December 8 and 10, 2002, Super Typhoon Pongsona was descending from its peak strength—Category 4— with winds of 120 knots (1 knot = 1.15 mph) to Category 3, with winds around 100 knots. The image from the 8th is of Pongsona over the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean, just south of the Tropic of Cancer, and about 1500 kilometers north of Papua New Guinea. In the image from the 10th, Pongsona had moved northeast, out into the open Pacific. Pongsona had dissipated four times before reaching Typhoon level, and gained a level approximately every day, up to Category 4. However, the descent was quicker. By late on the 9th, Pongsona began losing power, and by the 11th had dropped to the lowest level, Category 1, with winds of 75 knots. After this, it dissipated for good. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC