NASA Measures Rainfall as Cyclone Zane Approaches Queensland, Australia
TRMM flyby of Tropical Cyclone Zane. Credit: NASA
NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite passed over Cyclone Zane as it was approaching Queensland Australia’s Cape York Peninsula and measured rainfall rates within the storm. TRMM data showed a disorganized storm with the strongest rain falling northwest of the center.
Cyclone Zane, as of 12:00 UTC (10:00 p.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time or AEST) on May 1, 2013, was located about 215 km (~133 miles) due east of the coast of Queensland, Australia.
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On May 1, NASA’s TRMM satellite revealed that Zane was still not very well organized and there was no eye visible and very little evidence of banding (curvature) in the rain area. Heaviest rainfall is in red (about 50 mm/2 inches per hour). Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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This 3D picture of Zane from the TRMM PR shows one area of active deep convection reaching upwards of 15 km (shown in red), away from the center of circulation and so does not necessarily preclude further strengthening. Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
NASA’s TRMM satellite captured an image of Cyclone Zane at 11:48 UTC (9:48 p.m. AEST/7:48 a.m. EDT, U.S.) May 1, 2013. At the time, the center of circulation was located about 215 km (~133 miles) due east of the coast of Queensland, Australia and was heading west-northwest. TRMM revealed that Zane was still not very well organized with no eye visible and very little evidence of banding (curvature) in the rain area. At the time of the image, Zane was a Category 1 cyclone (equivalent to a tropical storm on the U.S. Saffir-Simpson scale) with sustained winds reported at 45 knots (~52 mph) by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre. Most of the rainfall that TRMM measured was light to moderate within Cyclone Zane, with the exception of an area northwest of the center that had a rainfall rate of around 2 inches/50 mm per hour.
The TRMM data was also made into a 3-D image that showed the cloud heights relative to the rainfall rates occurring in Zane. The image was created at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. and showed that although Zane had an area of active deep convection reaching upwards of 15 km (about 9.2 miles), it was located away from the center of circulation and does not necessarily preclude further strengthening. In fact, Zane weakened further.
By May 1 at 2100 UTC (5 p.m. EDT, U.S.), the Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued their final bulletin on Cyclone Zane. At that time Zane’s maximum sustained winds were near 35 knots (40 mph/64 kph) and weakening. Zane was located about 270 nautical miles north-northwest of Cairns, Australia and was moving to the northwest at 10 knots (11.5 mph/18.5 kph).
Zane is expected to weaken due to unfavorable wind shear before crossing the coast of northern Queensland north of the Lockart River and dissipate shortly afterward.
› Larger image NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Zane on May 1 at 04:05 UTC (12:05 a.m. EDT) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument captured a visible image of the cyclone. Zane’s most powerful thunderstorms continue to be around the low-level circulation center, and south of the center. Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team NASA Sees Cyclone Zane Bearing Down on Queensland, Australia
NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an image of Cyclone Zane headed toward the northern Cape York Peninsula of Queensland where it is expected to make landfall by May 2 and cross into the Gulf of Carpentaria.
A cyclone Warning is in effect for coastal areas from Mapoon to Cape York to Cape Flattery.
NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Zane on May 1 at 04:05 UTC (12:05 a.m. EDT) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument captured a visible image of the cyclone. Zane’s most powerful thunderstorms continue to be around the low-level circulation center, and south of the center.
At 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT), Cyclone Zane’s maximum sustained winds were near 55 knots (63.2 mph/101.9 kph). Zane is tropical storm strength. Zane was moving to the west at 7 knots (8 mph/12.9 kph), and was located near 13.8 south latitude and 146.8 east longitude, about 190 nautical miles (218.6 miles/351.9 km) north-northeast of Cairns, Australia.
At 1200 UTC (8 a.m. EDT) Tropical Cyclone Zane was near 13.2 south and 145.5 east, moving to the west-northwest near 10 knots (11.5 mph/18.5 kph) about 115 nautical miles (132.3 miles/213 km) east of Lockhart River and 110 nautical miles (126.6 miles/203.7 km) north of Cape Flattery. Zane’s maximum sustained winds had dropped to 45 knots (51.7 mph/83.3 kph) over the course of three hours.
Animated multispectral satellite imagery showed that the low level circulation center is partially exposed to outside winds. Vertical wind shear has been increasing from the northwest, and the forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center now expect Zane to weaken before making landfall in northeastern Queensland. After a brief track west across the Cape York Peninsula, Zane is expected to emerge into the Gulf of Carpentaria where wind shear will weaken and dissipate the storm.
› Larger image This infrared image taken from the AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite on April 30 at 0317 UTC (11:17 p.m. EDT on April 29 shows that the strongest convection and thunderstorms (purple) around the center of circulation as System 92P organized into Tropical Storm Zane Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
› Larger image This infrared image taken from the AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite on April 29 at 1505 UTC (11:05 a.m. EDT) shows that the strongest convection and thunderstorms (purple) wrapping into the center of circulation in a large band south of the center. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed OlsenNASA Infrared Data Revealed the Birth of Tropical Storm Zane
Infrared data indicates temperatures of cloud tops and the surface of the sea beneath tropical cyclones, and NASA’s AIRS instrument captured an infrared look at low pressure area System 92P in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean that hinted it was rapidly developing into Tropical Cyclone Zane. Zane is expected to make landfall in northeastern Queensland on May 1 at cyclone strength.
The infrared image of System 92P was taken from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite on April 29 at 1505 UTC (11:05 a.m. EDT). The AIRS data showed that strong convection and thunderstorms were wrapping into the center of circulation in a large band south of the center. The strong thunderstorms in that southern band and around the low pressure area’s center of circulation had cloud top temperatures colder than -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius), which indicated they were high in the troposphere and likely dropping heavy rainfall.
System 92P went on to consolidate and organize more since the AIRS image and by the early morning hours (EDT) of April 30, the storm strengthened into Tropical Storm Zane. Infrared imagery from AIRS on April 30 indicated a 100 nautical-mile (115.1 mile/185.2 km) diameter central dense overcast feature with a 6-nautical mile (6.9 miles/11.1 km) cloud-filled eye, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Willis Island radar imagery showed the eye feature with tightly-curved banding over the southern semi-circle.
At 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT) on April 30, Tropical Storm Zane was packing maximum sustained winds near 60 knots (69 mph/111 kph), and is expected to strengthen before making landfall on May 1 on the Cape York Peninsula. Zane was located near 14.0 south latitude and 148.8 east longitude, about 135 nautical miles (155.4 miles/250 km) north-northwest of Willis Island, Australia. Zane is moving to the west-southwest at 7 knots (8 mph/13 kph).
Warnings are already in effect for Queensland, Australia as Zane begins its approach. A Cyclone Warning is in effect for coastal areas from Orford Ness to Cape Tribulation. A Cyclone Watch is in effect for coastal areas from Mapoon to Orford Ness, including the Torres Strait Islands.
The forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect Zane to track to the west-northwest and cross the Cape York Peninsula on May 1 and then emerge into the Gulf of Carpentaria. At this time, Zane isn’t expected to make a second landfall in Australia and is forecast to pass through the Arafura Sea.