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Hurricane Season 2007: Kong-rey (Western Pacific)
Storm Summary: Typhoon Kong-rey Passes Through the Central Marianas

Kong-rey, the first typhoon of the year in the northwest Pacific basin, passed through the central Northern Mariana Islands on Tues., Apr. 3. Fortunately, the storm resulted in only minor damage. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite captured these images of Kong-rey, just as the center was passing through the islands. Launched in November 1997, TRMM was designed to measure rainfall over the global tropics using various sensors, including the world's first space-borne precipitation radar. TRMM has proven to be extremely valuable for monitoring tropical cyclones.

Kong Ray
Image above: This image from TRMM was taken at 5:17 p.m. EDT (2117 UTC) on Mon., Apr. 2. It shows how intense the rain is falling within Kong-rey and reveals a partial eye wall in the northwest quadrant, made up of heavy rain (small red arc). The curved rain bands surrounding the center (green ring with embedded areas of red, indicating moderate rain intensities with localized areas of heavy rain) depict a well-developed circulation. Click on image for large resolution. Image credit: SSAI/NASA

Kong Ray
Image above: The image was taken at the same time and shows a 3-D perspective of the storm from the Precipitation Radar instrument on the TRMM spacecraft. The higher cloud tops are shown in red and are co-located with the more intense areas of rain shown in the previous image. Click on image for large resolution. Image credit: SSAI/NASA

At the time these images were taken, Kong-rey was a minimal Category 1 typhoon with sustained winds estimated at 65 knots (75 mph) by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Kong-rey briefly reached Category 2 intensity after passing west of the islands, before re-curving off to the north then northeast away from the Marianas. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Kong-rey Reaches Typhoon Strength, But Spares Guam

Shortly after strengthening into a typhoon, Kong-rey passed the island of Guam in the North Pacific on late Mon., Apr. 2, and brought only brief gusty winds and showery conditions. The typhoon also largely spared the Mariana Islands, resulting in little damage to property or crops.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) on Tues., Apr. 3, Kong-rey was located near 18.2 degrees north latitude and 144.3 degrees east longitude, or about 170 miles north-northwest of Saipan. Movement was toward the north-northwest at 9 knots (10 mph). Maximum sustained winds were near 90 knots (104 mph) with gusts to 110 knots (127 mph).

Although recent satellite imagery shows that Kong-rey has become a bit more organized, with intense thunderstorms forming near its center, forecasters expect Kong-rey to begin weakening rapidly on Wed., Apr. 4, as it moves northeast over cooler ocean waters and encounters more wind shear (changing wind speed and direction with height).

Photo of Tropical Cyclone Kong

This satellite image of Kong-rey, taken at 7:30 a.m. EDT (1130 UTC) on Tues., Apr. 3, shows a strong, well-organized typhoon. Note the storm's symmetrical shape and the deep, thick clouds (bright white) near the eye (clear center). Image credit: JTWC/SATOPS. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, RSIS/Goddard Space Flight Center.

Mike Bettwy
Goddard Space Flight Center