Press Release

NASA Sees Heavy Rains in Tropical Storm Bingiza, Possibly Headed for Second Landfall

By SpaceRef Editor
February 18, 2011
Filed under , , ,

NASA’s TRMM satellite saw moderate to heavy rainfall, falling at a rate of over 2 inches/50 mm per hour (in red) in a small area near Bingiza’s center of circulation on Feb. 16, 2011. Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce

NASA satellite data indicates that Bingiza is still maintaining tropical storm intensity and carrying heavy rainfall over the Mozambique Channel as it prepares for its second landfall in Madagascar.

Deadly Tropical Cyclone Bingiza, which crossed over northern Madagascar three days ago, has continued to affect Madagascar while moving along Madagascar’s west coast. Bingiza had weakened from a powerful category 3 tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 100 kts (~115 mph/185 kmh) to tropical storm force winds of about 35 kts (~40 mph/65 kmh) when the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed almost directly overhead on February 16, 2011 at 1911 UTC (2:11 p.m. EST).

TRMM data was used to create an image of Bingiza’s rainfall. The analysis used TRMM’s Microwave Imager (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) data. At that time, Bingiza was approaching Madagascar from the Mozambique Channel with additional moderate to heavy rainfall (over 2 inches/50 mm per hour). Extremely heavy rainfall was revealed to be located in a small area near Bingiza’s center of circulation.

On February 17 at 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST), Bingiza’s maximum sustained winds were near 40 knots (46 mph/74 kmh) with higher gusts. It was about 220 nautical miles west-southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar, near 21.0 South and 43.7 East. Bingiza was moving south at 7 knots (8 mph/13 kmh).

Multispectral satellite imagery showed that Bingiza still has strong bands of thunderstorms wrapping around it from the northwest into the southeast quadrant. The low-level center of circulation is partially exposed to outside winds, however. Exposure to outside winds leaves the storm vulnerable for weakening.

A low to mid-level ridge (elongated area of high pressure) located to the northeast of Bingiza is what’s guiding it southward, and then it is forecast to track along the ridge and move southeastward in the next day taking it near or over land. Some models show that the storm may meander and remain over water while others take it inland. Whether it stays near the coast or moves inland, Bingiza is still forecast to weaken and is expected to dissipate by the weekend.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro/Hal Pierce, SSAI/NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

NASA Satellite Sees Tropical Storm Bingiza Hugging the Western Madagascar Coastline

The AIRS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Tropical Storm Bingiza today, Feb. 16 at 10:17 UTC (5:17 a.m. EST) that showed some strong convection (purple) over the west-central coast where thunderstorm cloud-tops were high and dropping moderate to heavy rainfall. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

Infrared satellite data from NASA is showing some strong thunderstorms over west-central Madagascar today as Tropical Storm Bingiza continues to hug the western coast of the island nation.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Tropical Storm Bingiza today, Feb. 16 at 10:17 UTC (5:17 a.m. EST). The image revealed some strong convection over the west-central coast where thunderstorm cloudtops were high and dropping moderate to heavy rainfall. Infrared data can provide temperature information to scientists, which is important as the higher the cloud top, the colder it is, and the stronger the thunderstorm. Cloud top temperatures as cold as or colder than -52 degrees Celsius (-63 Fahrenheit) were evident in today’s AIRS data, suggesting strong thunderstorms still existed, despite Bingiza’s weakening over the last 24 hours.

At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST) on Feb. 16, Tropical storm Bingiza’s maximum sustained winds were near 35 knots (40 mph/64 kmh). It was centered just off-shore from the town of Tambohorano, Madagascar. That’s about 200 miles west-northwest of Antananarivo, near 17.4 South and 43.9 East. The eastern half of Tropical Storm Bingiza was over land, while the western half remained over the Mozambique Channel.

At 12 p.m. EST on Feb. 16, rainfall from Bingiza stretched from Mahajanga in the north through Veromanga to Itondy in the south. Tambohorano, a town located along the western coast reported light rainfall at that time.

Bingiza continues to move to the south-southwest near 5 knots and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast suggests that Bingiza will move inland over southern Madagascar in the next couple of days where it will dissipate.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

SpaceRef staff editor.