NASA Tallies Tropical Storm Fernand's Massive Rainfall from Space [image-140]
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, also known as TRMM has the ability to measure rainfall from space. When Tropical Storm Fernand formed near Mexico's Gulf coast earlier this week, TRMM gathered data on the storm.
Heavy rain with Tropical Storm Fernand generated mudslides. According to the Latin Times, a total of 13 people died as the result of mudslides from Fernand's heavy rainfall. Nine people died in the municipality of Yecuautla, while three people died in Tuxpan and one person in Atzalan.
TRMM precipitation data are used to calibrate rainfall estimates from other satellites. The resulting TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. is used to estimate rainfall over a wide portion of the globe. The analysis for Fernand's rainfall showed estimated TMPA rainfall totals for the period from August 20-27, 2013 when Fernand was developing and moving through the area. Total rainfall greater than 300mm (~11.8 inches) appeared north of Tampico on Mexico's coastline.
The Latin Times reported damages to structures in 19 municipalities, and breaches of six rivers and streams.
Text credit: Hal Pierce/Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Fernand's Remnants Still Drenching Eastern Mexico [image-94]
Tropical moisture continued to stream over eastern Mexico on Aug. 27, from the remnants of former Tropical Storm Fernand. NASA's TRMM satellite captured the moisture-laden Tropical Storm Fernand after it made landfall and was dropping rainfall at a rate of 2 inches/50 mm per hour.
On Aug. 27 at 10:32 EDT, radar data from Mexico showed rainfall streaming in from near the city of Tampico on the Gulf of Mexico, to the west and northwest. Areas including Ebano and Panuco were experiencing heavy rainfall at the time. The center of Fernand's remnants were near 20.6 north latitude and 98.5 west longitude, which is between the states of Hidalgo and Veracruz. Fernand's remnants are keeping the region cloud-covered, as seen on NOAA's GOES-East satellite imagery. The GOES imagery, created by NASA's GOES Project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
The National Meteorological Service or NMS of Mexico expects Fernand's remnants to generate intense and heavy rain to the northeastern states, east and central Mexico. A warning remains in effect for heavy rainfall. The NMS of Mexico noted that heavy rainfall is possible on Aug. 27 in Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosi and Tamaulipas. Heavy rainfall is also possible in Distrito Federal, Tlaxcala and Queretaro.[image-110]
On Monday August 26 at 0534 UTC (1:34 a.m. EDT), Tropical Storm Fernand was already drenching the state of Veracruz along Mexico's eastern coast on the Gulf of Mexico when NASA's TRMM satellite flew overhead. TRMM, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Satellite captured data about the rainfall rates occurring in Fernand at the time.
That data was visualized at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. A rainfall analysis from TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) instruments was overlaid on an enhanced infrared image from TRMM's Visible and InfraRed Scanner (VIRS). The TRMM PR found rain falling at a rate of over 118mm/~4.6 inches per hour in rain bands north of Fernand's center of circulation. Those same TRMM PR data clearly showed the location of Fernand's nearly rain free center of circulation.[image-126]
TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) data were used at NASA to create a 3-D image of the storm's structure. TRMM also captured imagery of nearby System 95E in the eastern Pacific. In that storm, the tallest thunderstorm tops were found to reach heights of above 18.5 km/~10.9 miles. Those powerful storms were located off Mexico's Pacific coast southeast of Acapulco.
Heavy rainfall from Fernand may still produce some life threatening flash floods and mudslides today.
Text credit: Hal Pierce/Rob Gutro
SSAI/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA Sees Quick Forming Tropical Storm Fernand Soaking Mexico [image-51]
During the week of Aug. 18, the low pressure area designated as System 95E was lingering in the western Caribbean Sea and moved into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, where it exploded into Tropical Storm Fernand late on Aug. 25. On Aug. 26, NASA's TRMM satellite saw towering thunderstorms in Fernand were still raging over mainland Mexico, dropping heavy rainfall.
On Sunday, Aug. 25 at 5:00 p.m. EDT, System 95E organized quickly into a tropical depression six, and by 7:00 p.m. EDT, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Fernand. Fernand was centered in the Bay of Campeche and by 12:25 a.m. EDT on Aug. 26, Tropical Storm Fernand made landfall about 25 miles/40 km north-northwest of Veracruz, Mexico. [image-78]
At landfall, Fernand's maximum sustained winds were near 50 mph/85 kph. It came ashore near 19.5 north and 96.3 west. Fernand is now moving toward the north-northwest over mainland Mexico dumping heavy rainfall to eastern portions of the country.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Veracruz northward to Barra de Nautla.
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite called TRMM can measure rainfall rates from space. When TRMM passed over Fernand on Monday, Aug. 26 at 05:34 UTC/1:34 a.m. EDT, data showed that "hot towers" or towering thunderstorms that stretch to the top of the troposphere were flaring around the storm's center. TRMM data showed rainfall rates exceeding 2 inches/50 mm per hour.
A "hot tower" is a tall cumulonimbus cloud that reaches at least to the top of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere. It extends approximately nine miles (14.5 km) high in the tropics. The hot towers in Fernand were as high as 11.1 miles (18 km) high! These towers are called "hot" because they rise to such altitude due to the large amount of latent heat. Water vapor releases this latent heat as it condenses into liquid. NASA research shows that a tropical cyclone with a hot tower in its eye wall was twice as likely to intensify within six or more hours, than a cyclone that lacked a hot tower.
Those hot towers also drop heavy rainfall, and the National Hurricane Center expects Fernand to produce 4 to 8 inches of rain over Veracruz, Hidalgo, northern Puebla, southern Tamaulipas and eastern San Luis Potosi, Mexico today, Aug. 26. Isolated maximum amounts of up to 12 inches are possible, and Fernand's rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
At 8 a.m. EDT, the center of Tropical Storm Fernand was lLocated near latitude 20.1 north and longitude 97.2 west. That puts Fernand's center about 95 miles/150 km northwest of Veracruz, Mexico and just 65 miles/100 km south-southeast of Tuxpan, Mexico. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that Fernand is moving toward the northwest near 9 mph/15 kph and this general motion is expected to continue for the next day or so with a slight decrease in forward speed. Fernand is expected to remain over Mexico tonight, Aug. 26 into Aug. 27.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 mph/65 kph, but weakening will continue while the system moves over land. The NHC expects Fernand to become a depression later today.
Text credit: Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center