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Ita (Southern Pacific Ocean)
April 15, 2014

NASA's TRMM Satellite Adds Up Tropical Cyclone Ita's Australian Soaking

After coming ashore on April 11, Tropical Cyclone Ita dropped heavy rainfall over the weekend that caused flooding in many areas of northeastern Australia's state of Queensland. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite known as TRMM gathered data on rainfall that was used to create a rainfall map at NASA.

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[image-252][image-268]TRMM is a satellite managed by both NASA and JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Hal Pierce created a TRMM-based near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA). The TMPA precipitation data covered the period from April 1 to 14, 2014 which starts when Ita formed in the Coral Sea and moved along northeastern Australia's coast. This TRMM satellite rainfall map estimated that some of the largest isolated rainfall totals were near 400 mm/15.7 inches west of both Ingham and Townsville, Queensland.

A 3-D image of Ita was made at NASA using data collected by the TRMM satellite on April 14, 2014 at 0416 UTC/12:16 a.m. EDT after the tropical storm moved back into the Coral Sea. TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) instrument found that the weakening tropical cyclone was still dropping rainfall at a maximum rate of over 161 mm/6.3 inches per hour over the Coral Sea. The 3-D image, created using TRMM PR data, showed that some storms within Ita were still reaching heights of over 13 km/8 miles as it was becoming extra-tropical.

Another NASA-shared satellite captured a visible look at Ita's remnants on April 15. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured a look at the dying extra-tropical storm. VIIRS collects visible and infrared imagery and global observations of land, atmosphere, cryosphere and oceans.

When Suomi flew over Extra-Tropical Storm Ita on April 15 at 3:53 UTC/April 14 at 11:53 p.m. EDT, VIIRS visible data revealed that Ita's structure had elongated more than the previous day. The VIIRS image showed that strong northwesterly wind shear continued to hammer the storm because the bulk of the storm's clouds were pushed southeast of the center. Ita's remnants have taken on more of a frontal appearance today as they continue to weaken at sea.

Text credit: Hal Pierce / Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

 

 

 

 


[image-188][image-204][image-220]Apr. 14, 2014 - NASA Sees Tropical Cyclone Ita Over the Coral Sea

Tropical Cyclone Ita made landfall in northeastern Queensland, Australia on April 11 as a powerful Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, moved south and re-emerged in the Coral Sea on April 14 where NASA's TRMM and NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP Satellites captured imagery of the weakened storm.

The VIIRS instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible look at Ita's elongating structure on April 14 at 4:12 UTC/12:12. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument collects visible and infrared imagery and global observations of land, atmosphere, cryosphere and oceans. Strong northwesterly vertical wind shear was evident because the bulk of the storm's clouds were pushed southeast of the center. The VIIRS image also revealed that Ita no longer maintained a rounded shape.

NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite's Precipitation Radar instrument gathered rainfall data from Ita when it flew overhead on April 14. That rainfall data was combined with infrared data of Ita's clouds from Japan's MTSAT-2 satellite.

The image taken on April 14 at 1050 UTC/6:50 a.m. EDT showed rain fall rates of up to 1.4 inches/35.5 mm per hour falling southeast of Ita's elongated center.

After Tropical cyclone Ita made landfall on April 11, it continued tracking over land on the eastern Cape York Peninsula of Queensland, Australia where it weakened to a tropical storm. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured an infrared image of Ita on April 12 at 1225 UTC/8:25 a.m. EDT. The MODIS image showed very high, powerful thunderstorms with very cold cloud top temperatures were south of the center of circulation. The thick band of thunderstorms had cloud top temperatures that were as cold as -80F/-62.2C. Those thunderstorms had the potential for heavy rainfall. 

According to the Brisbane Times, Ita did not cause any loss of life, but did damage agriculture. Ita reportedly destroyed banana crops and flattened cane fields. Flooding from heavy rainfall also cut off the Bruce Highway, Queensland's main highway.

On April 12 at 1200 UTC (8 a.m. EDT U.S. and April 13 at 2:00 a.m. local time) the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) noted that a Cyclone Warning remained in effect for coastal areas from Cape Tribulation to St. Lawrence. A Cyclone Watch remained in effect for coastal areas from St. Lawrence to Yeppoon. Heavy rainfall, flash flooding, gale-force winds and rough surf can be expected in the warning area. ABM warned that abnormally high tides were expected between Innisfail and Townsville.

On April 12, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported animated multispectral satellite imagery revealed that Ita's structure remained well-defined, even over land. Radar imagery from Cairns showed strong bands of thunderstorms along the eastern quadrant of the storm. 

On April 12 at 0900 UTC/5 a.m. EDT, Tropical Storm Ita had maximum sustained winds near 50 knots/57.5 mph/92.6 kph. It was centered near 17.0 south latitude and 145.5 east longitude, about 31 nautical miles/35.7 miles/57.4 km west-northwest of Cairns, Queensland. Tropical cyclone Ita has tracked south-southeastward at 6 knots/6.9 miles/11.1 kph.

By April 13 at 12:06 UTC/7 a.m. local time Monday/8 p.m. EDT/U.S., Ita's maximum sustained winds dropped to 45 knots/51.7 mph/83.3 kph. Tropical Cyclone Ita was located off the central Queensland coast near latitude 22.0 south longitude 152.2 east, which is about 121.2 miles/195 km northeast of Yeppoon and 142.9 miles/230 km north northeast of Gladstone.

Satellite imagery showed that the bulk of the convection and thunderstorms associated with Ita were being blown to the south of the center because of strong northwesterly wind shear.

The JTWC's final warning on Ita was issued on April 14 at 0900 UTC/5 a.m. EDT when Ita was back over the Coral Sea. At that time, Ita's maximum sustained winds were down to 40 knots/46.0 mph/74.0 kph. It was centered near 23.7 north latitude and 155.1 east longitude, about 299.2 miles/481.5 km north-northeast of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  Tropical Storm Ita was moving to the east-southeast at 23 knots/26.4 mph/42.6 kph.  All warnings in Queensland were canceled.

JTWC forecasters using animated multispectral satellite imagery noted that Ita was quickly becoming extra-tropical. Ita was embedded in the mid-latitude westerly winds and as a result of that its circulation was starting to stretch out. Strong vertical wind shear was also pushing the strongest thunderstorms to the southeast of the center, and Ita had began taking on frontal characteristics.

JTWC forecasters expect that the vertical wind shear from the westerly winds will speed up the transition into an extra-tropical storm, and by April 15, Ita is expected to be fully extra-tropical.

Text credit:  Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


Apr. 11, 2014 - NASA Sees Powerful Tropical Cyclone Ita Making Landfall in Queensland, Australia

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Ita as it began making landfall on the Eastern Cape York Peninsula of Queensland, Australia, today, April 11, 2014. Ita officially made landfall at Cape Flattery about 9:00 p.m. local AEST time as a Category 4 storm according to reports from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer that flies aboard Aqua captured an image of the Category 4 storm on April 11 at 12:00 a.m. EDT (4 a.m. UTC). Satellite imagery indicates the eye is 9.2 miles wide (8 nautical miles, or 14.8 km).

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Warnings and watches remain in effect as the center of Ita is expected to remain at hurricane strength as it moves in a southerly direction, staying just west of Cairns over the next day. A tropical cyclone warning is in effect between Coen and Innisfail, including Cooktown, Port Douglas, Cairns, extending inland to Kalinga, Palmerville, Mareeba and Chillagoe. A tropical cyclone watch is in effect between Innisfail to Cardwell, extending inland.

ABC reported that the strongest maximum sustained winds around the center of circulation were near 142.9 mph (124.2 knots, or 230 kph) and many trees have been downed and homes damaged.

According to ABC, preliminary reports suggest that power may be out for a month in some areas.

On April 11 at 5 a.m. EDT (9 a.m. UTC), Tropical Cyclone Ita had maximum sustained winds near 143.8 mph (125 knots, or 231.5 kph). It was centered near 14.8 degrees south latitude and 145.3 degrees east longitude, about 168 miles (146 nautical miles, or 288 km) north of Cairns, Australia, and has tracked south-southwestward at 10.3 mph (9 knots, or 16.6 kph). Ita is moving around a subtropical ridge (elongated area) of high pressure and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expects Ita to start curving to the southeast around that ridge in the next day before heading back out into the Coral Sea.

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


[image-140][image-156][image-172]April 10, 2014 - NASA Sees Hurricane-strength Tropical Cyclone Ita Heading Toward Queensland

Tropical Cyclone Ita has been strengthening over the last two days and by April 10, Ita had become a major hurricane in the Coral Sea when NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead.

Ita's maximum sustained winds were near 115 knots/132 mph/213 kph on April 10 at 0900 UTV/5 a.m. EDT, making it a Category Four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. According to NOAA, the definition of a Category 4 storm affecting land is: "Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months."

Ita's center was still at sea, centered near 12.5 south and 147.1 east, about 275 nautical miles north-northeast of Cairns, Australia. Ita was moving to the north-northeast at 9 knots/10/3 mph/16.6 kph and generating 30-foot/9.1 meter high waves.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Cyclone Ita approaching Australia on April 10 at 00:25 UTC. The image showed a cloud-shrouded eye with a thick band of powerful thunderstorms around the center of circulation.

On April 9, Ita was seen twice by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite known as TRMM satellite. Ita's wind speeds increased from 65 knots/75 mph with TRMM's first flight overhead at 0536 UTC/1:36 a.m. EDT to 80 knots/92 mph when viewed again at 1528 UTC/11:28 p.m. EDT. 

TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) instruments captured data on Tropical Cyclone Ita's rainfall at 1528 UTC/11:28 a.m. EDT. TRMM PR data showed that a maximum rainfall rate of almost 163 mm/6.4 inches per hour was located in the eastern side of Ita's eye wall.

TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) instrument sliced through Ita's eye and those data were used to create a 3-D "cut-a-way" view. The image showed that powerful storms in Ita's eye wall reached heights of over 14 km/8.7 miles. The tallest thunderstorm towers reached heights of over 16 km/9.9 miles high in a feeder band well to the northeast of Ita's eye.

Ita is continuing to intensify as it moves west, south of Papua New Guinea. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center or JTWC expects the system to peak at 135 knots/155 mph/250 kph on approach to Queensland. JTWC also expects the system will veer sharply southeast on approach to the Australian coastline, and gradually weaken as it passes along the eastern coastline of Queensland. Ita will commence extra-tropical transitioning north of Brisbane.   

Current warnings in Queensland are in effect between Lockhart River and Innisfail, extending inland to Kalinga, Laura, Mareeba and Chillagoe. A tropical cyclone watch is in force between Innisfail to Cardwell, extending inland.

Text credit:  Rob Gutro / Hal Pierce
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

 

 

 


[image-110][image-126]Apr. 09, 2014 - NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees Tropical Cyclone Ita Intensifying

Tropical Cyclone Ita has been intensifying as it tracks from Papua New Guinea toward Queensland, Australia, and NASA's TRMM satellite noticed the development of an eye feature.

NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite flew above intensifying Tropical Cyclone Ita in the Coral Sea near the southeastern tip of Papua New Guinea on April 9, 2014 at 0536 UTC/1:36 a.m. EDT. Tropical cyclone had developed a large but well defined eye and had sustained winds estimated at 65 knots/75 mph. Rainfall derived from TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) data was used to create a rainfall analysis.

TRMM PR data unveiled rain falling at a rate of over 99 mm/3.9 inches per hour within Ita's feeder bands over the coast of southeastern Papua New Guinea. TRMM PR found that tall thunderstorms in Ita's eye wall were reaching heights of over 16 km/9.9 miles and were returning radar reflectivity values of over 57dBZ to the satellite. 

On April 9 at 0900 UTC/5 a.m. EDT, Tropical Cyclone Ita's maximum sustained winds had increased to 80 knots/92 mph/148.2 kph. Ita is a Category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. According to the scale, a Category 1 hurricane can cause the following: well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

Ita was still over 400 miles from Cairns, Australia at 0900 UTC/5 a.m. EDT. It was centered near 11.5 south and 150.2 east and moving to the west at 9 knots/10.3 mph/16.6  kph. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted that Ita is generating 25-foot/7.6 -meter high waves in the Coral Sea.

On April 9, animated multispectral satellite imagery showed Ita has tightly curved bands of thunderstorms wrapping into a consolidating low level circulation center. TRMM microwave imagery revealed a well-formed eye around that consolidating center. 

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is forecasting Ita to strengthen over the next two days with maximum sustained winds peaking near 105 knots before weakening from interaction with the land. Ita is expected to move southwest through the Coral Sea and reach the eastern Cape York Peninsula, Queensland by Friday, April 11.  The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM)  noted that Ita is expected to cross the far north Queensland coast between Lockhart River and Cape Flattery late Friday.

ABM has posted a Cyclone Watch for coastal areas from Cape Grenville to Cairns, extending up to 124 miles/200 kilometers inland to areas including Kalinga, Laura, and Palmerville. For updates, visit the ABM website: http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/index.shtml.

From April 11 through the 14, JTWC expects an approaching shortwave trough (elongated area of low pressure) to begin pushing Ita away from the coast. Current JWTC forecasts take Ita's center near Cairns and slowly turn Ita in a  southeasterly direction causing the storm parallel the Queensland coast  to Brisbane.

Text credit:  Hal Pierce / Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


[image-78][image-94]Apr. 08, 2014 - NASA's Aqua Satellite Reveals Tropical Cyclone Ita Strengthening

Tropical Cyclone Ita's maximum sustained winds have increased over the last day and NASA's Aqua satellite provided forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center with a visible look at the storm on April 8.

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Ita at 3:30 UTC/11:30 p.m. EDT on April 7, and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer provided a visible image of Tropical Cyclone Ita. The MODIS image showed a large area of strong thunderstorms south and northeast of the center of circulation. At the same time, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard Aqua gathered infrared data on the storm, revealing very cold cloud top temperatures near -63F/-52C, and indicative that the storm was strengthening. When cloud tops cool there is more uplift or energy in the atmosphere to push them higher into the troposphere. The stronger the push the higher the cloud tops go and that means the potential for stronger thunderstorms.

At 900 UTC/5 a.m. EDT, Ita's maximum sustained winds were near 65 knots/74.8 mph/120.4 kph. It was centered near 11.5 south and 152.2. east, about 507 nautical miles/583.4 miles/939 km northeast of Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Ita was moving to the west-northwest at 3 knots/3.4 mph/5.5 kph, but is expected to move in a more west-southwesterly direction.

Animated multispectral satellite imagery showed that the low-level center of circulation is consolidating. Ita is moving away from Sudest Island today, April 8. An image from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit showed that the center is surrounded by tightly curved bands of thunderstorms along the eastern semi-circle. The AMSU-A aboard NASA's Aqua satellite is part of a closely coupled triplet of instruments that include the AIRS (Atmospheric Infrared Sounder) and HSB (Humidity Sounder for Brazil).  AMSU-A on Aqua is a 15-channel microwave sounder instrument designed primarily to obtain temperature profiles in the upper atmosphere (especially the stratosphere) and to provide a cloud-filtering capability for tropospheric temperature observations

Forecasters at the JTWC or Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast Ita to accelerate westward to west-southwestward as a mid-level subtropical ridge (elongated area of high pressure) builds over the Coral Sea. JTWC forecasters then expect Ita to head toward Queensland Australia's Cape York Peninsula over the next three days.

Text credit:  Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


[image-51]Apr. 07, 2014 - NASA Catches Tropical Cyclone Ita Near Papua New Guinea

The twenty-third tropical cyclone of the Southern Pacific tropical cyclone season has developed near the Solomon Islands and strengthened into Tropical Storm Ita on April 5. NASA satellite imagery showed the center of circulation just southwest of Sudest Island. Sudest is a volcanic island within Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.

On April 5 at 2100 UTC/5:00 p.m. EDT, Ita formed in the Coral Sea, about 599 nautical miles east-northeast of Cairns, Australia, and was moving to the west-southwestward at 5 knots/5.7 mph/9.2 kph. At that time, maximum sustained winds were near 45 knots/51.7 mph/83 kph.

Satellite data on April 5 showed that strong convection (and developing thunderstorms) were along both the southern and eastern quadrants of the newborn storm.

On April 6, when NASA's Terra satellite passed over Ita the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured a visible image of the storm. The image was created by NASA's MODIS Rapid Response Team at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The MODIS image showed strong thunderstorms surrounding the tightly-wrapped center of circulation, just southeast of Sudest Island. Bands of thunderstorms were wrapping into the center from the north and east, and from the southwest.

At 1200 UTC/8 a.m. EDT/10 p.m. local time (Brisbane/Australia) on April 7, Tropical Cyclone Ita was located over the northern Coral Sea near latitude 12.1 south and longitude 153.4 east, about 532 nautical miles/612.2 miles/985.3 km northeast of Cairns, Queensland. Maximum sustained winds were near 45 knots/51.7 mph/83.3 kph.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) expects Ita to move to the west then southwest over the next several days. JTWC forecasters expect Ita to make landfall in the northeastern Cape York Peninsula of Queensland, Australia around April 11. Currently there are no watches posted yet, but the Australian Bureau of Meteorology noted that Ita could begin affecting the Queensland coast on Wednesday, April 9.

Text credit:  Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Aqua captured an image of the Category 4 storm on April 11 at 04:00 UTC/12:00 a.m. EDT. Satellite imagery indicates the eye is 8 nautical miles wide.
Aqua captured an image of the Category 4 storm on April 11 at 12 a.m. EDT (4 a.m. UTC). Satellite imagery indicates the eye is 8 nautical miles wide.
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard's MODIS Rapid Response Team
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TRMM rainfall map for Ita
This TRMM satellite rainfall map covers Tropical Cyclone Ita's life from April 1-14. Highest isolated rainfall was estimated around 400 mm/15.7 inches west of both Ingham and Townsville, Queensland. Ita's locations at 0600 UTC are shown overlaid in white.
Image Credit: 
SSAI/NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce
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Tropical Cyclone Ita
NASA's Terra satellite MODIS instrument captured this image of Tropical Cyclone Ita on April 6. The image shows strong thunderstorms surrounding the tightly-wrapped center of circulation, just southeast of Sudest Island.
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
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Tropical Cyclone Ita
NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Ita near eastern Papua New Guinea on April 8 at 3:30 UTC.
Image Credit: 
NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response
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AIRS image of Ita
NASA's Aqua satellite captured this infrared image of Tropical Cyclone Ita near eastern Papua New Guinea on April 8 at 3:30 UTC.
Image Credit: 
NASA JPL/Ed Olsen
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TRMM image of Ita
On April 9, the TRMM satellite saw rain falling at a rate of over 99 mm/3.9 inches per hour within Ita's feeder bands over the coast of southeastern Papua New Guinea.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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This simulated 3-D flyby animation using TRMM precipitation radar data on April 9 shows rain falling at a rate of over 99 mm/3.9 inches per hour (red) within Ita's feeder bands over the coast of southeastern Papua New Guinea.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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MODIS image of Ita
NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of Tropical Cyclone Ita approaching Australia on April 10 at At 00:25 UTC.
Image Credit: 
NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team
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TRMM image of Ita
On April 9, NASA's TRMM saw powerful storms in Ita's eye wall reached heights of over 14 km/8.7 miles. The tallest thunderstorm towers reached heights of over 16 km/9.9 miles high in a feeder band well to the northeast of Ita's eye.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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On April 9, NASA's TRMM saw powerful storms in Ita's eye wall reached heights of over 14 km/8.7 miles. The tallest thunderstorm towers reached heights of over 16 km/9.9 miles high in a feeder band well to the northeast of Ita's eye.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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NPP image of Ita
This visible image of an elongated Tropical Cyclone Ita was taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite on April 14 at 4:12 UTC/12:12.
Image Credit: 
NRL/NASA/NOAA
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TRMM instrument image of Ita
NASA's TRMM satellite rainfall data was combined with infrared data from Japan's MTSAT-2 to create this image of Tropical Cyclone Ita over the Coral Sea on April 14 at 1050 UTC. Heavy rainfall appears in red at 1.4 inches per hour.
Image Credit: 
NRL/NASA/JAXA
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Terra image of Ita
This image from NASA's Terra satellite on April 12 showed very high, powerful thunderstorms (red) with very cold cloud top temperatures (as cold as -80F/-62.2C) south of the center of circulation.
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USNRL/NASA
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3-D image of Ita
This 3-D image shows the structure of Tropical Cyclone Ita on April 14 at 0416 UTC/12:16 a.m. EDT. Some storms within Ita were still reaching heights of over 13 km/8 miles.
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SSAI/NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce
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Ita NPP image
This visible image of an elongated Tropical Cyclone Ita was taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite on April 15 at 3:53 UTC and shows that wind shear has blown most clouds and thunderstorms south of the center.
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NRL/NASA/NOAA
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Page Last Updated: April 15th, 2014
Page Editor: Lynn Jenner