Status Report

NASA Sees Hurricane Sandy as the “Bride of Frankenstorm” Approaching U.S. East Coast

By SpaceRef Editor
October 26, 2012
Filed under , , ,

NASA’s TRMM satellite revealed Hurricane Sandy’s heavy rainfall and the storm is expected to couple with a powerful cold front and Arctic air to bring that heavy rainfall to the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S. Some forecasters are calling this combination of weather factors “Frankenstorm” because of the close proximity to Halloween. However, because Sandy is a woman’s name, the storm could be considered a “bride of Frankenstorm.”

NASA satellites have provided forecasters at the National Hurricane Center with rainfall data, infrared, visible and other data on Sandy and will continue to do so. Dr. Marshall Shepherd who works with TRMM data provided an insight into the storm’s development.

NASA’s TRMM Satellite Sees Sandy Drench Jamaica and Eastern Cuba

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite had a partial view of hurricane Sandy on Oct. 25 at 1425 UTC (10:25 a.m. EDT) after it had passed over Cuba and moved into the Bahamas. An eye was hard to find but TRMM’s Microwave Imager (TMI) data showed that a large area of intense rainfall was occurring around Sandy’s center of circulation. Hal Pierce of NASA’s TRMM Team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. used a GOES-13 satellite image captured at the same time to fill in the part of the image not viewed by TRMM to create a total picture of the storm.

With its combination of passive microwave and active radar sensors, TRMM is ideally suited to measure rainfall from space. For increased coverage, TRMM can be used to calibrate rainfall estimates from other additional satellites. The TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) made at NASA Goddard can be used to rainfall over a wide portion of the globe. TMPA rainfall totals were tallied for the seven-day period from Oct. 18-25, 2012.The heaviest rainfall occurred over open ocean where totals were as high as 325 millimeters. Rainfall amounts as high as 250 millimeters were measured over eastern Cuba and some extreme southern areas of Hispaniola.

Hurricane Sandy passed over the islands of Jamaica and Cuba causing at least 21 deaths. Extensive flooding and other damage were reported near the capital city of Kingston and other areas of Jamaica.

National Hurricane Center Rainfall Expectations

The heavy rainfall potential is evident in the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) forecast on Oct. 26. The NHC noted that Sandy is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches across Haiti and the Dominican Republic with isolated maximum totals of 20 inches possible. Rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches are expected over portions of the Bahamas with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible. Rainfall totals of one to three inches are expected across the Florida Keys into southeastern and east-central Florida with isolated maximum amounts of six inches possible. Rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches are possible over far eastern North Carolina.

SpaceRef staff editor.