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Hurricane Season 2008: Tropical Cyclone 3B (Arabian Sea)
Oct. 24, 2008

Tropical Cyclone 3B Brings Floods to Yemen, Many Missing

Flooding in Yemen brought by Tropical Cyclone 3B Credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team/Jeff Schmaltz
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The country of Yemen isn't a place where you would think a tropical cyclone would normally make landfall, but it was this week. The rains that accompanied Tropical Cyclone 3B have created severe flooding problem, mostly in Yemen's southeast.

Tropical Depression 3B made landfall in Yemen on October 24, and continued to bring heavy rains there and to the country of Oman on October 25. According to Agence France Presse news wire, dozens of people are missing from floods in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramaut. In fact, the province of Hadramaut has been declared a "disaster zone."

Reports indicate that slow moving Tropical Depression 3B's torrential rains lasted for about 30 hours, and witnesses claimed bodies were floating in overflowed streams. Roadways were flooded and power lines were down. At least 340 houses were reported destroyed in the towns of Tarim, Al-Kotn and Shibam in Hadramaut.

NASA's Terra satellite instrument, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured an image of Tropical Depression 3B on October 23, 2008.

Tropical Storm Three formed in the Indian Ocean southeast of the island of Socotra and headed northwest over the island. It skirted the Horn of Africa and headed west. The storm only briefly reached tropical storm status before it weakened to a tropical depression. By the time of this image, the storm did not have the iconic pinwheel shape and distinct eye of a powerful storm, but hints of its cyclonic nature were visible. Airflow spiraled inward in a counterclockwise direction toward a storm center located near the eastern shoreline of Yemen. Two patches of intensely bright clouds around this center of rotation signal areas of severe thunderstorms.

Text credit: Rebecca Lindsey/Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Oct. 23, 2008

Tropical Cyclone 3B Brings Rain to Yemen

Satellite image of storm 3B Credit: NASA/JPL/Colorado State University/Naval Research Laboratory-Monterey
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Tropical Cyclone 3B was born in the Arabian Sea and made landfall in Yemen today, October 23. The Abu Dhabi Meteorological Centre issued watches and warnings about Tropical Cyclone 3B reaching the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula today. The local forecast called for rain with winds gusting 20-25 knots (23-28 mph).

On Oct. 23 at 9:00 Zulu Time (5:00 a.m. EDT), Tropical Cyclone 3B was nearing the Yemen coast. At that time, it was located near 14.6 degrees north and 49.7 degrees east. That's approximately 165 nautical miles north-northwest of Cape Guardafui, Somalia. 3B had sustained winds near 25 knots (28 mph) with higher gusts. It has tracked west-northwest near 10 knots (11 mph). By 12 p.m. EDT, Tropical Cyclone 3B made landfall on the Yemen coast, bringing rains and gusty winds.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is the organization responsible for forecasts of tropical cyclones in the Indian and western Pacific Oceans and Arabian Sea. The JTWC noted that Tropical Cyclone 3B will likely dissipate by mid-day on Oct. 24.

NASA's CloudSat Satellite Sliced Tropical Cyclone 3B Sideways

NASA's CloudSat satellite's Cloud Profiling Radar captured a sideways look across Tropical Cyclone 3B. It was compared with top down satellite image to show where CloudSat took its sideways view.

The top image is from the Meteosat-9 satellite on Oct. 23, 10:30 Zulu Time (6:30 a.m. EDT). The image was supplied through the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Meteosat-9, the European Space Agency's prime observational satellite at 0 degrees longitude, is in geostationary orbit, 35 800 km above the Gulf of Guinea.

The image on the bottom is from NASA's CloudSat satellite also taken on Oct. 23, at 6:00 Zulu Time (2:00 a.m. EDT). The red line through the Meteosat satellite image shows the vertical cross section of radar, basically what the cyclone's clouds looked like sideways. The colors indicate the intensity of the reflected radar energy. The top of storm's clouds are over 14 kilometers or almost 9 miles high.

The blue areas along the top of the clouds indicate cloud ice. Where the solid line (the ground or sea surface) along the bottom of the panel disappears is an area of heavy precipitation. It is likely that in the area the precipitation rate exceeds 30mm/hr (1.18 inches/hour) based on previous studies.

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

NASA's TRMM Satellite Sees 3B's Rainfall from Space

Satellite image of storm 3B Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
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The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite has been providing valuable observations of the earth since it was launched in Japan from the Tanegashima Space Center on November 27, 1997. Frequently TRMM has made important observations of tropical cyclones over the globe. This image shows a rainfall analysis using data captured when TRMM flew above tropical storm 03B on October 20, 2008 at 13:41 UTC (9:41 a.m. EDT) as 03B was moving toward the Gulf of Aden.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) designed to monitor and study tropical rainfall.

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