Tropical Cyclones

The GPM Mission provides insight into how and why some tropical cyclones intensify and others weaken as they move from tropical to mid-latitude systems. The GPM Core Observatory’s GMI and DPR instruments allow scientists to study the internal structure of storms throughout their life cycle, and view how they change over time.

IMERG totals from hurricane sally
The northern Gulf Coast has seen its share of storms this busy hurricane season. At the end of August, then Tropical Storm Marco brought heavy rains to parts of the Florida Panhandle while western Louisiana took a direct hit from the much more powerful Category 4 Hurricane Laura. Now, just over 3 weeks since Laura made landfall, the northern Gulf Coast was struck again, this time by Hurricane Sally. Though not as powerful as Laura, the still rather strong Sally behaved more like Marco. But, while Marco was largely sheared apart with most of the rain well northeast of the center as it slowed
IMERG Rainfall from Typhoons Bavi, Maysak and Haishen
From August 22 through September 7, 2020, NASA’s IMERG algorithm estimated rainfall from three typhoons as they passed over the Pacific Ocean, Japan, and Korea. According to NOAA's records, this was the only time since records have been kept starting in 1945 that the Korean peninsula saw three landfalling typhoons in a single year, let alone in two weeks. Each of the three typhoons--Bavi, Maysak, and Haishen--reached the equivalent of “major hurricane” status, meaning Category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane-intensity scale (shown here as a red in the hurricane track) along their
IMERG Rainfall Totals from Hurricanes Marco and Laura
The northern Gulf Coast, specifically Louisiana, saw two tropical cyclones make landfall in the same week just days apart. The two systems, however, could not have been more different when they arrived. Despite forming a day later, Marco was the first system to make landfall on the Gulf Coast. Marco originated from a tropical easterly wave that was moving from the central to the western Caribbean. After becoming a tropical depression (TD) on the 20th of August, TD #14 turned northwestward the following day as it approached the coast of Central America and moved into the northwest Caribbean
GPM Overpass of Hurricane Laura 8/27/20
After crossing western Cuba, Tropical Storm Laura emerged into the Gulf of Mexico where warm water, low wind shear and a moist environment made conditions ideal for intensification. As it made its way through the Gulf of Mexico Laura strengthened - from a category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph on the morning of Tuesday August 25th, to a powerful category 4 storm, with sustained winds of 150 mph on the evening of Wednesday August 26th - an increase of 75 mph in just 36 hours. At this point Laura was nearing the coast of western Louisiana, and made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana
Hurricane Laura on August 27, 2020
Update on August 28, 2020: During its approach to Louisiana, Hurricane Laura dramatically intensified from Category 2 to 4 (105 mph to 150 mph) between at 1AM and 7PM Central Time (CDT) on August 26, 2020. In the updated movie below, the precipitation falling from Laura is shown through 10:30PM CDT, August 27, as estimated by NASA's IMERG algorithm. To open the animation in a separate window, click here. On August 26, Laura became the first North Atlantic hurricane to reach "major hurricane" status this year, meaning that it reached category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane-intensity scale
IMERG Hurricane Hanna 7-27-20 cropped
Hanna formed from a westward propagating tropical easterly wave that entered the southeast corner of the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday July 21st. The wave provided a focus for shower and thunderstorm activity, which then led to the formation of an area of low pressure over the central Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) found that this low had developed a closed circulation by the evening of Wednesday July 22nd, making it Tropical Depression #8. Over the next 24 hours, the depression slowly organized and intensified over the central Gulf before reaching tropical storm intensity on
Hurricane Forecasting Screenshot
The powerful hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900, killing an estimated 8,000 people and destroying more than 3,600 buildings, took the coastal city by surprise. This video looks at advances in hurricane forecasting in the 120 years since, with a focus on the contributions from weather satellites. This satellite technology has allowed us to track hurricanes – their location, movement and intensity. “One of the dramatic impacts is that satellite data keeps an eye on the target," especially over unpopulated areas such as oceans, said JPSS Director Greg Mandt. “We’re sort...
Cyclone Amphan IMERG Rainfall Totals
On May 16, 2020, NASA / JAXA's GPM Core Observatory satellite observed the early stages of Tropical Cyclone Amphan as it tracked north over the Bay of Bengal. The below GPM overpass shows precipitation within Cyclone Amphan a day before it explosively intensified into a category 4-equivalent cyclone. Even at this early stage, Amphan produced heavy rain rates near its center and to its west and southwest. View fullscreen in STORM Event Viewer NASA monitored the heavy rain associated with Tropical Cyclone Amphan as it made landfall at 0900 UTC (2:30 PM local time) on May 20, 2020. Landfall...
Typhoon Vongfong IMERG Rainfall Totals
The first typhoon of the season, Vongfong, struck the central Philippines this past week (where it is known as Ambo) as a strong category 2 storm, bringing strong winds and locally heavy rainfall. Vongfong formed into a tropical depression in the southern Philippine Sea west of Palau on Sunday May 10th from a disturbance that had been slowly making its way westward over the past several days. After becoming a depression, the system moved northward toward the central Philippine Sea and slowly began to intensify. Then, on the 12th when it reached tropical storm intensity, Vongfong’s northward...
GPM Overpass of Cyclone Harold from April 6th, 2020
Video credit: Greg Shirah, Kel Elkins, Alex Kekesi (NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio). For more information or to download this public domain video, go to: A Category 4 cyclone, the most powerful yet of 2020, made landfall on the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu on Monday, not long before this GPM overpass from April 6th, 2020 at 1:41 UTC. Tropical Cyclone Harold developed from a low pressure system that was observed to the east of Papua New Guinea last week, and has tracked to the southeast, where it has already caused flooding and loss of life...