Typhoon Roke followed a looping path for five days while maintaining tropical-storm strength prior to intensifying to typhoon-strength at 12 UTC (8 a.m. EDT) on September 19, 2011.
This large-scale image provides context for the 3D radar data (in gray) by showing the three-day surface rainfall accumulation (rainbow colors) along the track of the storm (gray line). Also shown is the significant rainfall accumulation (over 200 mm or ~8 inches) over the Japanese Island of Kyushu to the north of Typhoon Roke. Credit: Credit: NASA/TRMM/Owen Kelley
The second image Kelley created zooms into the inner core of Typhoon Roke during a period of rapid intensification, seen by the TRMM satellite at 1351 UTC (9:51 a.m. EDT) on September 19, 2011.
That image showed cloud-top temperatures seen by the infrared instrument on the TRMM satellite and revealed where clouds were shallow, where they reach above the freezing level, and powerful thunderstorms that approached the tropopause indicating vigorous convection (rapidly rising air that form thunderstorms that power a tropical cyclone).By creating an image in 3-D precipitation, becomes visible in the storm clouds. The 3-D image depicted rainfall and cloud height. The 3-D image was color coded where green tinting indicated precipitation reaching an altitude of 8.5 km (5.2 miles) and yellow tinting indicates an altitude of 11 km (6.8 miles). These altitudes are far above the freezing level that is typically near 5 km (3.1 miles) altitude in the tropics. When air rises more than a kilometer or so the freezing level, any moisture that condenses is likely to form ice hydrometeors instead of liquid hydrometeors and thereby release additional latent heat that may help fuel the storm.
TRMM is managed by both NASA and the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA.
By 11:18 a.m. EDT (15:18 UTC) on Sept. 21, the southern edge of Roke was passing over Tokyo, while the northern extent stretched past Sapporo far to the north.
The Japan Meteorological Agency reported sustained winds of 103 mph (167 kph) and heavy rainfall in Japan's Tokai and Kanto regions earlier today. News reports have attributed four deaths to the storm and noted that rainfall had occurred at 2 inches (50 millimeters) per hour, confirming the data from the TRMM satellite. Roke is expected to re-emerge over water and transition into an extra-tropical storm later today.
Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
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