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NASA Measured Erika’s 9-Day Rainfall Totals From Space

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Posted September 1, 2015

Tropical Storm Erika was a rainmaker in the Caribbean islands, and NASA’s GPM satellite was able to estimate the total rainfall the storm generated over nine days. Today, Sunday, August 30, 2015, Erika continues to bring those heavy rains to southern Florida.

This visible image from NOAA's GOES-East satellite shows the remnant clouds associated with former Tropical Storm Erika over south Florida on August 30 at 9 a.m. EDT. Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

This visible image from NOAA’s GOES-East satellite shows the remnant clouds associated with former Tropical Storm Erika over south Florida on August 30 at 9 a.m. EDT. Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

On Saturday, August 30, 2015, Erika dissipated over north central Cuba but not before dropping heavy rainfall that contributed to the reported deaths of at least 20 people in the mountainous Caribbean island nation of Dominica.

The Global Precipitation Measurement or GPM core satellite can measure rainfall rates from space. GPM is a mission that is a joint effort between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, real time data from NASA’s Integrated Multi-Satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) were used to make a rainfall analysis and provide an early estimate of rainfall that accompanied tropical depression and tropical storm Erika August 21 through 29, 2015. The heaviest rainfall in the analysis was estimated to be over 307 mm (12.1 inches) in the area of Dominica.

NASA Measured Erika’s Rainfall Totals From Space GPM measured rainfall from Tropical Storm Erika August 21 through 29, 2015. The heaviest rainfall in the analysis was estimated to be over 307 mm (12.1 inches) in the area of Dominica. Credits: NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

On Sunday, August 30, 2015, Erika’s remnants were in the form of an elongated area of low pressure or a trough. They were producing areas of heavy rain over portions of south Florida, the Florida Keys, and Cuba.

The National Hurricane Center noted that there are no signs of re-development at this time, upper-level winds could become marginally favorable for tropical cyclone formation over the next day or so. NHC Forecaster Cangialosi said in the 8 a.m. EDT discussion, “Regardless of this system’s prospects for regeneration, locally heavy rains and gusty winds are expected to spread northwestward and then northward across Florida and the eastern Gulf of Mexico later today and Monday.

Source: NASA

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