Featured Images

Text Size

Hurricane Season 2012: System 96P (Southern Pacific Ocean)
03.27.12
 
This rainfall map was created from TRMM data from February 22 to March 23 › View larger image
This rainfall map was created from TRMM data from February 22 to March 23, 2012 which includes the period of time that System 96P rained on Queensland (March 13-20, 2012). Rainfall amounts are color coded, with the lowest amounts in blue and the highest amounts in red and purple. Rainfall is especially heavy along Queensland coastlines bordering the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Coral Sea.
Credit: NASA/SSAI
NASA Measures Heavy Rains in Northeastern Australia After System 96P Departs

Heavy rains soaked northeastern Australia in February and March 2012, with some areas receiving more than 1,500 millimeters (59 inches) of precipitation. NASA created an image that shows rainfall, as observed by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), over parts of Queensland, Northern Territory, and the Gulf of Carpentaria. The date range is from February 22 to March 23, 2012 which includes the period of time that System 96P rained on Queensland (March 13-20, 2012).

Rainfall amounts are color coded, with the lowest amounts in blue and the highest amounts in red and purple. Rainfall is especially heavy along Queensland coastlines bordering the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Coral Sea.

On March 26, 2012, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology warned of possible continued heavy rains for northeastern Queensland, and reported that multiple rivers in the region remained under flood alert.

Text Credit: Michon Scott
NASA's Earth Observatory
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.



Mar. 20, 2012

On March 19 and March 20, AIRS captured infrared images of System 96P. › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over System 96P on March 19 at 1541 UTC and March 20 at 0353 UTC it captured infrared images of the low pressure area. The later image appeared to show that System 96P partially into the waters of the Southern Pacific Ocean. Aqua captured an infrared image of the storm's cloud top temperatures using the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument. AIRS data showed that the coldest (purple) cloud top temperatures exceeded -63F/-52.7C. In the imagery from March 20, some of the heaviest rainfall was occurring along Queensland's east coast from Townsville north to Cape Melville.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
On March 20 AIRS captured this visible image of 96P sliding into the Southern Pacific Ocean. › View larger image
When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over System 96P on March 20 at 0353 UTC it captured this visible image of the storm sliding off of Queensland and into the Southern Pacific Ocean.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Sees System 96P Still Soaking Queensland

NASA's Aqua satellite captured infrared and visible imagery of the stubborn low pressure area called System 96P, which continues to bring rainfall to Queensland and has generated some weather advisories for heavy rainfall and flooding.

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over System 96P on March 19 at 1541 UTC and March 20 at 0353 UTC the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) captured infrared images of the low pressure area. The later image appeared to show that System 96P stretched out and its eastern part extending over the waters of the Southern Pacific Ocean. AIRS data showed that the coldest cloud top temperatures exceeded -63 Fahrenheit/-52.7 Celsius, which indicates where the strongest thunderstorms and heaviest rains were located. In the imagery from March 20, some of the heaviest rainfall was occurring along Queensland's east coast from Townsville north to Cape Melville.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) posted severe weather warnings for various areas of Queensland on March 20, 2012 that include heavy rainfall and damaging winds. ABM's warning was issued at 11 p.m. local time, and covered residents "in the Herbert and Lower Burdekin, Central Coast and Whitsundays, Central West, Central Highlands and Coalfields, Capricornia and parts of the Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, Northwest, Channel Country, Maranoa and Warrego, Darling Downs and Granite Belt and Wide Bay and Burnett districts."

The area of low pressure extends across north Queensland from Gulf Country to the Herbert and Lower Burdekin district. System 96P's center appears to be about 31 miles (50 km) southwest of Richmond. System 96P continues moving slowly to the southeast at 7 mph (~12 kph) and is expected to continue in that direction. It means heavy rainfall and possible flooding as it continues tracking toward the coast. For updates on watches and warnings for Queensland, visit the ABM's website at: http://www.bom.gov.au/qld/index.shtml.

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












Mar. 19, 2012

NASA's TRMM satellite measured rainfall rates in System 96P on March 19. › View larger image
NASA's TRMM satellite measured rainfall rates in System 96P on March 19. Light to moderate rainfall is falling through western Queensland and is depicted in blue and green, falling at a rate between .78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour. System 96P is moving south over land, and has generated some severe weather warnings in Queensland today, March 19.
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees System 96P Raining on Queensland

The low pressure area known as System 96P has been unsuccessful in attempts to organize since it was born during the week of March 12. On March 19, NASA's TRMM satellite captured the low dropping light-to-moderate rainfall over western Queensland as it continued to weaken, and it has now triggered severe weather warnings.

System 96P regained a little strength over the weekend as it moved through the Gulf of Carpentaria, but then moved inland in western Queensland and never had the chance to attain tropical depression status.

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed over System 96P on March 19, and saw that it was generating light to moderate rainfall over western Queensland. Rainfall rates were between 78 to 1.57 inches (20 to 40 mm) per hour. Later on March 19, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center dropped the possibility of System 96P becoming a tropical depression back down to low.

The center of System 96P appeared to be around 250 nautical miles west of Cairns. Infrared satellite imagery indicated that the center was near the southwestern coast of the Cape York Peninsula on March 18 but moved inland on March 19. Maximum sustained winds were near 25 knots (28.7/46.3 kph) as it headed south over land, affecting Karumba and Normanton.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning on March 19 that includes heavy rainfall and gusty winds. The warning includes the following districts: Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, North Tropical Coast and Tablelands, Herbert and Lower Burdekin, Central Coast and Whitsundays and parts of the Gulf Country, Peninsula and Northwest districts. Rainfall amounts possible in those areas can be as much as 8 inches (~100 to 200 mm), and flooding is possible.

As System 96P continues to move south today, residents in those areas should be prepared for flood conditions. In addition, residents living near rivers and streams should check with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for flood warnings at http://www.bom.gov.au/qld/warnings/.

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



Mar. 14, 2012

This AIRS image showed the southern extent of the storm had moved over land. › View larger image
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over northern Australia on March 14 at 0424 UTC (12:24 a.m. EDT) and captured infrared data on System 96P. The AIRS instrument onboard Aqua captured an infrared image that showed cloud top temperatures. The coldest cloud top temperatures were colder than -63F/-52.7C (in purple). The AIRS image showed the southern extent of the storm had moved over land.
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Satellite Sees System 96P Move Over Northern Territory

The low pressure area known as System 96P that had development potential for becoming a tropical depression lost that chance as it moved over land in Australia's Northern Territory. NASA's Aqua satellite showed the southern half of System 96P was over land early on March 14.

The southern edge of System 96P moved over land in the northeastern corner of Western Australia and the northwestern part of the Northern Territory on March 13. At 0900 UTC on March 14, System 96P's center was about 215 miles southwest of Darwin, Northern Territory. It was centered near 14.7 South and 128.6 East, near Rocky Island in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, southern Timor Sea.

NASA's Aqua satellite passed over northern Australia on March 14 at 0424 UTC (12:24 a.m. EDT) and captured infrared data on System 96P. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured infrared images that showed cloud top temperatures. AIRS data showed that the coldest cloud top temperatures were colder than -63F/-52.7C and that the southern half of the storm had moved over land.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported System 96P will still affect the communities from Kalumburu to Dundee Beach including Wyndham, bringing gusty winds and heavy rain. Heavy rainfall is possible through the Western Top End and Victoria River area.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) dropped the likelihood of tropical cyclone formation to low. The JTWC reported "Recent data indicates the system is moving on-shore over the Southern Joseph Bonaparte Gulf and will remain inland for at least 48 hours. Some chance remains that the cyclone may return to open waters over the southern Gulf of Carpentaria, but that will not occur for at least 48 hours, if at all."

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



Mar. 13, 2012

Aqua captured two tropical disturbances close enough to appear on one image. › View larger image
When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over northern Australia on March 12 at 1711 UTC and March 13 at 0539 UTC it captured two tropical disturbances close enough to appear on one image. Tropical Cyclone Lau in on the left side of the image and is in the Southern Indian Ocean, while System 96P is pictured right, and is in the Southern Pacific Ocean. Aqua captured an infrared image of both storms' cloud top temperatures using the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument. AIRS data showed that the coldest (purple) cloud top temperatures (colder than -63F/-52.7C).
Credit: NASA/JPL, Ed Olsen
NASA Sees Double Tropical Trouble in Northern Australia

Northern Australia is dealing with two tropical systems today, and both were close enough to be captured on one satellite image. One of them has strengthened enough to be named Tropical Cyclone Lua, while the other is still getting organized and is a tropical low pressure area. The unnamed storm is currently close enough to the coast to generate warnings, while Lua is not.

When NASA's Aqua satellite passed over northern Australia on March 12 at 1711 UTC and March 13 at 0539 UTC it captured the two tropical disturbances close enough to appear on one image. Tropical Cyclone Lau appears on the left side of both days of satellite imagery, while System 96P appears on the right side of the images. Lua is located in the Southern Indian Ocean, while System 96P is in the Southern Pacific Ocean. Both systems seemed to grow closer over the two days and both are affecting coastal areas in northern Australia on March 13.

Aqua captured an infrared image of both storms' cloud top temperatures using the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument. AIRS data showed that the coldest cloud top temperatures were colder than -63F/-52.7C around the center of circulation in both systems.

Tropical cyclone Lua formed off the northern coast of Western Australia. On March 13, it was a minimum tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (~40 mph/~65 kph). It was located about 240 miles west-northwest of Port Hedland, Australia, near 18.4 South and 115.0 East. It was barely moving at 2 knots (~2 mph/~4 kph) to the west-northwest, but is expected to turn to the east-southeast in a day or two. Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect Lua to meander for a day or two before intensifying before making landfall in the Pilbara region sometime on March 16. There are currently no warnings posted yet for Tropical Storm Lua, but that is likely to change over the next couple of days.

Located to the east of Tropical Storm Lua, and in the Southern Pacific Ocean is System 96P. Although not a tropical storm, System 96P is closer to land and has caused watches and warnings to go up. There is currently a high seas weather warning for "Metarea 10/11" and a Coastal Waters Wind Warning for waters from Cape Don to Kuri Bay.

At 1200 UTC (8 a.m. EST/8:00 p.m. Australia WST) the tropical low known as System 96P was located near 12.9 South and 128.0 East, about 170 nautical miles west of Darwin and 115 nautical miles northwest of Port Keats. It was moving south at 4 knots (4.6 mph/7.4 kph).

AIRS infrared satellite imagery showed that deep convection (rising air that forms the thunderstorms that make up the tropical cyclone) is growing in size around the low-level circulation center. There are also bands of thunderstorms spiraling into the low's center. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted weather observations from nearby Troughton Island, located southwest of the center, showed a 10-minute sustained wind speed as high as 20 knots (23 mph/37 kph).

System 96P is in an area of warm sea surface temperatures and is getting organized. Forecasters at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Joint Typhoon Warning Center agree that it may become a tropical depression within the next day. The low is expected to curve towards the southeast for a landfall south of Port Keats late on March 14, or early on March 15. Residents from Dundee Beach to Port Keats to Kalamburu should monitor this storm closely and expect heavy rainfall, gusty winds, and rough surf along beaches.

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