Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA's TRMM satellite sees deadly tornadic thunderstorms in southeastern U.S.

Date:
November 19, 2011
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
Tornadoes are expected to accompany severe storms in the springtime in the US, but this time of year they also usually happen. When a line of severe thunderstorms associated with a cold front swept through the US southeast on Nov. 16, TRMM collected rainfall data on the dangerous storms from space.

TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) data was used to show the line of severe thunderstorms in 3-D. The line of storms were pushing through North and South Carolina on Nov. 16, 2011. Strong updrafts had pushed precipitation within some of these storms to heights of 15km (9.3 miles).
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce

Tornadoes are expected to accompany severe storms in the springtime in the U.S., but this time of year they also usually happen. When a line of severe thunderstorms associated with a cold front swept through the U.S. southeast on Nov. 16, TRMM collected rainfall data on the dangerous storms from space.

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite flew over the southeastern United States on November 16, 2011 at 2310 UTC (6:10 p.m. EST) when tornadoes were occurring with a line of thunderstorms that stretched from western Florida north through North Carolina. At least six deaths were caused by one of these tornadoes that destroyed three homes near Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Typically in the fall, the transition from warm air to cooler air occurs as Canadian cold air moves down into the U.S. The combination of a strong cold front with warm, moist air in its path enables the creation of strong to severe storms at this time of year.

TRMM data was used to create a rainfall analysis of the line of severe thunderstorms associated with the cold front. The analysis showed that the area of moderate to very heavy rainfall (falling at more than 2 inches or 50 mm per hour) with this frontal system was only located in a narrow line. In addition to heavy rain and some tornadoes, the strong cold front brought winds gusting over 30 mph, and a temperature drop of as much as 20 degrees as the front passed.

TRMM rainfall imagery is created at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. To create the images, rain rates in the center swaths are taken from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), a unique space-borne precipitation radar, while rain rates in the outer swath are from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The rain rates are overlaid on infrared (IR) data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS) to form a complete picture of the rainfall in a storm or storm system like this one.

Data captured at the same time with TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) were used to create a three dimensional look at the line of severe storms. That 3-D image shows the vertical structure or height of the thunderstorms. The higher the cloud tops go, the stronger the storm. Strong updrafts had pushed precipitation within some of these storms to heights of 9.3 miles (15 kilometers).

According to USA Today, tornadoes were reported in four states from that line of thunderstorms. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina all had reported tornadoes, and dozens of buildings and homes were damaged. The line of severe weather also took down trees and power lines leaving many without electricity.

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


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "NASA's TRMM satellite sees deadly tornadic thunderstorms in southeastern U.S.." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111119153540.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2011, November 19). NASA's TRMM satellite sees deadly tornadic thunderstorms in southeastern U.S.. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111119153540.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "NASA's TRMM satellite sees deadly tornadic thunderstorms in southeastern U.S.." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111119153540.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Rescuers were forced to suspend plans to recover at least two dozen bodies from near the summit of Mount Ontake in central Japan on Tuesday after increased seismic activity raised concern about the possibility of another eruption. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins