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Hurricane Season 2009: Domenic (Indian Ocean)
Jan. 28, 2009

Domenic's Remnants Help Western Australia's Drought Problem

AIRS visible photo of Domenic fading Credit: NASA/JPL
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Drought-relief is the good side to tropical cyclones. Residents in Western Australia have just received much-needed rains in drought-stricken areas as a result of Tropical Cyclone Domenic's remnants. However, not all areas welcomed the heavy rainfall.

Domenic's rainfall in Australia's Gascoyne region has broken the drought for some "pastoral stations" in that area. In 24 hours between Jan. 27 and 28, 4.7 inches (120 millimeters) of rain had fallen in Lyndon Station on Australia's west coast, an area where cattle are raised. That was enough to return the Lyndon River to a decent level of flow.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), an instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Domenic on Jan. 28 at 05:53 UTC (12:53 a.m. EST). AIRS generates infrared, microwave and visible images, and in this image Domenic's circular clouds can be seen in the lower middle part of the image. The last of Dominic is now over southwestern Australia, in the Goldfields-Esperance region.

The heavy rainfall from Domenic wasn't as welcome in all areas. The Goldfields-Esperance region was one that also received a good amount of rainfall from Domenic's remnants, but it wasn't looked upon as favorably there. It is one of the nine regions of Western Australia, located in the south eastern corner of Western Australia.

Goldfields reported rainfall between two to four tenths of an inch (5mm to 10mm), while the Esperance area has reported less than 5mm. A flood warning was also issued for the Goldfields, Gascoyne areas. Esperance Airport received 4.5 inches (115mm) of rain in 24 hours, more than they're recorded there in more than 2 years. The inland town of Meekatharra recorded between 3.9 and 5.1 inches (100 and 130mm) of rainfall over a 24 hour period.

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

Jan. 27, 2009

Domenic Makes Landfall in Northwestern Australia

satellite image of Domenic Credit: NASA/NRL
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Western Australia's Pilbara region took the brunt of Tropical Cyclone Domenic when he made landfall near the town of Onslow shortly after 7 a.m. local time on January 27 (5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Jan. 26). Domenic made landfall with heavy rains and strong winds gusting over 130 km/hour (80 mph).

Australia's Herald Sun reports extensive flooding, downed powerlines, and damaged roofs around Onslow. By 9 a.m. local (Australia Western) time, Domenic had moved 20 kilometers (12 miles) east-southeast of Onslow and 95 kilometers (59 miles) north-northwest of Nanutarra. It was moving south-southeast at 9km/hr (6 mph) where it will bring heavy rains and gusty winds to the inland towns of Mt. Augustus and Meekatharra over the next day.

When the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image on Jan. 27 at 02:27 UTC (11:27 a.m. local Australia Western Time), Domenic's center had already made landfall and moved inland. At that time, his center was estimated near 21.9 degrees south latitude and 115.3 degrees east longitude. That places Domenic's center about 195 nautical miles northeast of Learmonth, Australia. Domenic's estimated minimum central pressure at that time was 989 millibars, and sustained winds were near 45 knots (52 mph) meaning that he was still a tropical storm.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued their last advisory on Jan. 27 at 0000 UTC (Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. EST). They expect that Domenic will continue tracking southeast over the next couple of days as its winds wane, and it transitions to a low pressure area.

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

Jan. 26, 2009

CloudSat image of Tropical Storm Domenic Credit: NASA/JPL/Colorado State University/Naval Research Laboratory-Monterey
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Tropical Cyclone Domenic Poised for a Northwest Australian Landfall

Tropical Cyclone 10, which was later named Domenic, formed on Sunday Jan. 25 at 1500 Zulu Time (10 a.m. EST) in the Indian Ocean, about 235 miles northeast of Learmonth, Australia. By Monday Jan. 26th, Domenic was a day away from landfall.

On Monday, Domenic, the 10th tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean basin was located to the north-northeast of Barrow Island, a tiny island off the northwest coast of Australia. Specifically, on Jan. 26 at 6:00 Zulu Time (1 a.m. EST) the cyclone's center was located near 20.2 degrees south latitude and 115.6 degrees east longitude about 98 miles northeast of the town of Learmonth. Domenic was packing sustained winds near 35 knots (42 mph) and was moving south-southwest near 8 knots (9 mph) and kicking up waves 12 feet high. Domenic's estimated minimum central pressure was 996 millibars.

CloudSat Captures a Sideways Look at Domenic's Frigid Clouds

NASA's CloudSat satellite's Cloud Profiling Radar captured a sideways look across Domenic on Mon. Jan. 26 at 6:10 Zulu Time (1:10 a.m. EST). This is a combination of the CloudSat image (on the bottom) and an image from NASA's Aqua satellite (top).

The top image from NASA's Aqua satellite was supplied through the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory using the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument.

The image on the bottom is from NASA's CloudSat satellite. The red line through the Aqua satellite image shows the vertical cross section of radar, basically what Ike's clouds looked like sideways. The colors indicate the intensity of the reflected radar energy. The top of Domenic's clouds reach over 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) high. There's also a temperature scale on the CloudSat image, where you can see that the highest clouds at that height are near minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit)!

The blue area along the top of the clouds indicates cloud ice, while the wavy blue lines on the bottom center of the image indicate intense rainfall. Notice that the solid line along the bottom of the panel, which is the ground, disappears in this area of intense precipitation. It is likely that in the area the precipitation rate exceeds 30mm/hr (1.18 inches/hour) based on previous studies. The image also shows that the temperature near 4 kilometers high (2.5 miles) is around 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).

AIRS image of Tropical Cyclone Domenic over Australia Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen
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NASA's AIRS Instrument Gives a Top-Down Look at Freezing Clouds

The infrared imagery of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured Domenic's cloud temperatures from the top down, while CloudSat covered them from the side. Domenic was captured here on Jan. 26 at 6:05 Zulu Time (1:05 a.m. EST).

This infrared image also shows a large temperature difference between the tops of the clouds in a tropical cyclone and the warm ocean waters that power it. The lowest temperatures (in purple) are associated with high, cold cloud tops that make up the top of Domenic. Those temperatures are as cold as or colder than 220 degrees Kelvin or minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (F) which correlates with the sideways CloudSat images. The blue areas are around 240 degrees Kelvin, or minus 27F.

Once Domenic passes Barrow Island, it is forecast to swing to the southeast and make landfall on mainland Australia on the 27th. It is then expected to continue tracking to the southeast until it dissipates.

Rob Gutro
Goddard Space Flight Center