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Catastrophic Flooding Possible: NASA Aqua Satellite Eyes Hurricane Sally and Finds Heavy Rain Potential
Science & Technology

Catastrophic Flooding Possible: NASA Aqua Satellite Eyes Hurricane Sally and Finds Heavy Rain Potential

On September 15 at 3:25 a.m. EDT (0725 UTC), the MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite tv for pc revealed probably the most highly effective thunderstorms (yellow) had been round Hurricane Sally’s heart and within the northeastern quadrant. There, cloud prime temperatures had been as chilly as or colder than minus 80 levels Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 Celsius.) They had been positioned over the Gulf of Mexico and simply offshore from coastal Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle. Robust storms (purple) with cloud prime temperatures as chilly as minus 70 levels Fahrenheit (minus 56.6. levels Celsius) surrounded each areas and had been producing massive quantities of rain. Credit score: NASA/NRL

NASA’s Aqua satellite tv for pc analyzed the cloud prime temperatures and water vapor content material in Hurricane Sally because it crawls towards landfall, and discovered the potential for giant quantities of rainfall, which, coupled with gradual motion, can result in catastrophic flooding. Two devices offered three views of Sally’s temperatures and water vapor that exposed the soaking functionality of the slow-moving hurricane.

At 8 a.m. EDT on September 15, NOAA’s Nationwide Hurricane Heart (NHC) cautioned, “Historic flooding is feasible from Sally with excessive life-threatening flash flooding probably by Wednesday [September 16] alongside parts of the northern Gulf Coast.” Forecasters are utilizing NASA’s infrared and water vapor information to research the rainfall potential from Sally.

NHC issued a Storm Surge Warning for the mouth of the Mississippi River to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line, Florida and for Cellular Bay. A Hurricane Warning is in impact for east of the Mouth of the Pearl River to Navarre, Florida. A Tropical Storm Warning is in impact for east of Navarre, Florida to Indian Go, Florida and from the mouth of the Pearl River westward to Grand Isle, Louisiana, together with Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans.

Tropical cyclones encompass tons of of thunderstorms, and infrared information can present the place the strongest storms are positioned. That’s as a result of infrared information offers temperature info, and the strongest thunderstorms that attain highest into the ambiance have the coldest cloud prime temperatures. Two devices aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite tv for pc offered infrared information on Sally’s cloud tops.

On September 15 at 3:25 a.m. EDT (0725 UTC), the Reasonable Decision Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite tv for pc revealed probably the most highly effective thunderstorms had been round Hurricane Sally’s heart and within the northeastern quadrant. In these areas, cloud prime temperatures had been as chilly as or colder than minus 80 levels Fahrenheit (minus 62.2 Celsius). They had been positioned over the Gulf of Mexico and simply offshore from coastal Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle. Robust storms with cloud prime temperatures as chilly as minus 70 levels Fahrenheit (minus 56.6. levels Celsius) surrounded each areas and had been producing massive quantities of rain.

On September 15 at 3:29 a.m. EDT (0729 UTC) NASA’s Aqua satellite tv for pc analyzed Sally’s cloud prime temperatures utilizing the AIRS instrument. AIRS confirmed the strongest storms had been offshore within the northern Gulf of Mexico the place they had been as chilly as or colder than 210 Kelvin (purple) minus 81 levels Fahrenheit (minus 63.1 levels Celsius). Credit score: NASA JPL/Heidar Thrastarson

4 minutes later, one other instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite tv for pc analyzed Sally’s cloud prime temperatures to confirm the info from MODIS. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument or AIRS instrument confirmed the strongest storms had been offshore within the northern Gulf of Mexico the place they had been as chilly as or colder than 210 Kelvin (minus 81 levels Fahrenheit (minus 63.1 levels Celsius). NASA analysis has proven that cloud prime temperatures that chilly point out sturdy storms which have the aptitude to create heavy rain.

On September 15 at 3:25 a.m. EDT (0725 UTC) Aqua’s MODIS instrument additionally gathered water vapor content material and temperature info on Sally. The MODIS picture confirmed highest concentrations of water vapor (darkish brown) and coldest cloud prime temperatures had been across the heart of circulation and within the northeastern quadrant of the storm. The water vapor information confirmed coldest cloud prime temperatures had been as chilly as or colder than minus 70 levels Fahrenheit (minus 56.6 levels Celsius) in these storms. Credit: NASA/NRL

Water vapor evaluation of tropical cyclones tells forecasters how a lot potential a storm has to develop. Water vapor releases latent warmth because it condenses into liquid. That liquid turns into clouds and thunderstorms that make up a tropical cyclone. Temperature is vital when making an attempt to grasp how sturdy storms will be. The upper the cloud tops, the colder and stronger the storms.

On September 15 at 3:25 a.m. EDT (0725 UTC) Aqua’s MODIS instrument additionally gathered water vapor content material and temperature info on Sally. The MODIS picture confirmed the best concentrations of water vapor and coldest cloud prime temperatures had been across the heart of circulation and within the northeastern quadrant of the storm. The water vapor information confirmed the coldest cloud prime temperatures had been as chilly as or colder than minus 70 levels Fahrenheit (minus 56.6 levels Celsius) in these storms. Storms with cloud prime temperatures that chilly have the aptitude to supply heavy rainfall.

The NHC warns, “Sally is predicted to be a gradual shifting system because it approaches land producing 10 to twenty inches of rainfall with remoted quantities of 30 inches alongside and simply inland of the central Gulf Coast from the western Florida Panhandle to far southeastern Mississippi. Historic flooding is feasible with excessive life-threatening flash flooding probably by Wednesday. As well as, this rainfall will result in widespread average to main flooding on space rivers.

Sally is forecast to maneuver inland early Wednesday and transfer throughout the Southeast producing rainfall of 4 to eight inches, with remoted most quantities of 12 inches, throughout parts of southeastern Mississippi, southern and central Alabama, northern Georgia, and the western Carolinas. Vital flash and city flooding is probably going, in addition to widespread minor to average flooding on some rivers.”

At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC) on September 15, the Nationwide Hurricane Heart famous the middle of Hurricane Sally was positioned close to latitude 29.1 levels north and longitude 88.0 levels west. That’s about 65 miles (110 km) east of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Sally is shifting towards the northwest close to 2 mph (4 kph), and this common movement is predicted to proceed this morning. A northward flip is predicted this afternoon, adopted by a gradual north-northeastward to northeastward movement tonight and persevering with by Wednesday evening. Most sustained winds are close to 85 mph (140 kph) with greater gusts. The estimated minimal central stress primarily based on information from the Air Power Hurricane Hunter plane is 982 millibars.

NHC stated, “Though little change in energy is forecast till landfall happens, Sally remains to be anticipated to be a harmful hurricane when it strikes onshore alongside the north-central Gulf coast. On the forecast monitor, the middle of Sally will move close to the coast of southeastern Louisiana at present, and make landfall within the hurricane warning space tonight or Wednesday morning.”

Hurricanes are probably the most highly effective climate occasion on Earth. NASA’s experience in area and scientific exploration contributes to important providers offered to the American folks by different federal companies, similar to hurricane climate forecasting.

NASA’s Aqua satellite tv for pc is one in a fleet of NASA satellites that present information for hurricane analysis.

For greater than 5 a long time, NASA has used the vantage level of area to grasp and discover our dwelling planet, enhance lives and safeguard our future. NASA brings collectively expertise, science, and distinctive international Earth observations to offer societal advantages and strengthen our nation. Advancing information of our dwelling planet contributes on to America’s management in area and scientific exploration.

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