Satellite Captures 3-D View of Violent Storms that Ravaged the US on April 27-28


NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite captured 3-D images of severe thunderstorms that were spawning tornadoes over the eastern United States on April 28, detecting massive thunderstorms and very heavy rainfall. Tornadoes associated with this extremely unstable weather left at least 202 dead across the Eastern U.S, with injuries numbering over a thousand.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite captured the rainfall rates occurring in the line of thunderstorms associated with a powerful cold front moving through the eastern U.S. on April 28, 2011. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour. The very small red areas are heavy rainfall at almost 2 inches (50 mm) per hour. Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

TRMM flew over the strong cold front and captured data at 0652 UTC (2:52 AM EDT) on April 28, 2011. Most of the rainfall was occurring at moderate rates however, there were pockets of very heavy rainfall in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama where rain was falling at a rate of 2 inches (50 millimeters) per hour.

This TRMM radar vertical cross section shows that some of these violent storms reached to incredible heights of almost 17 km (~10.6 miles). Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

In the image above and the lead animation, TRMM data was used to generate a 3-D look at the storm. TRMM’s Precipitation Radar (PR) data was used by Hal Pierce of SSAI at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. to create a 3-D structure of those storms. The image Pierce created is a TRMM radar vertical cross section that shows some of these violent storms reached to incredible heights of almost 17 km (~10.6 miles).

TRMM, is the Energizer Bunny of satellites as it keeps going and going. It was launched in 1997 and was scheduled at one time to be decommissioned in 2004. But its systems keep operating and it is has been able to keep gathering useful information on storms and climate. It now has operated well over a decade past its original life expectancy.

TRMM is managed by both NASA and the Japanese Space Agency.

Source: NASA

17 Replies to “Satellite Captures 3-D View of Violent Storms that Ravaged the US on April 27-28”

  1. Good thing that climate change is only a bunch of crybaby Liberal malarkey, or this crazy weather would be something to worry about…

  2. I am totally disappointed by the media; 300 dead and no discussion on the cause. As earth warms up the boundary condition between air mass is going to increase, causing more violent storms. Storms like this is just the prelude before North Pole become ice free in 10 years. Then watch out, sh%# is going to hit the fan.

    1. Actually I think this is up in the air. IIRC last I read on this it was predicted to increase frequency but not severity, at least for now.

      I wish I had saved the ref though. Meanwhile it is an alternative hypotheses of what could be the more immediate turnout.

  3. From what I understand, these storm are more the result of La Nina than climate change. I’ve been through storms like this before (including the ones from a couple of weeks ago) and they are no picnic, but this is not a new thing.

    Sensationalizing climate change will not help the situation.

  4. Frankly, nothing seems to help the situation. I think we need a summer like Moscow’s last to hit Chicago just in order to get people’s (well, Americans’) attention.

    1. You don’t have a clue about what you are talking about. This is utter gibberish.


      1. As science fiction author and critic Bruce Sterling noted in his essay in CATSCAN 13:

        Online communication can wonderfully liberate the tender soul of some well-meaning personage who, for whatever reason, is physically uncharismatic. Unfortunately, online communication also fertilizes the eccentricities of hopeless cranks, who at last find themselves in firm possession of a wondrous soapbox that the Trilateral Commission and the Men In Black had previously denied them.

      2. Yeah IVAN3MAN, it was the intertubes that did it!

        I can remember a time, long ago, before the net, when cranks would mail their opuses to various popular science magazines. Scientific American used to put some of their favorites in the April (fools) edition of the magazine (in the Letters section IIRC). And yes, some of it was written in crayon. 😀

    2. Wow!!! What can you say other than; “Are you feeling OK today?” or “Please don’t forget to take the medications?”
      For once I’m completely lost for words…
      To Mr. Hologram, well, the answer is very simply. No!

    1. I think a strong claim can be made that the process of scientific discovery may be regarded as a form of art…. A well constructed theory is in some respects undoubtedly an artistic production. A fine example is the famous Kinetic Theory of Maxwell…The theory of relativity by Einstein, quite apart from any question of its validity, cannot but be regarded as a magnificent work of art.

      Ah. Wonder who said that? …or how about dear Harman Minkowski…

      The rigid electron is in my view a monster in relation to Maxwell’s equations, whose innermost harmony is the principle of relativity… the rigid electron is no working hypothesis, but a working hindrance. Approaching Maxwell’s equations with the concept of the rigid electron seems to me the same thing as going to a concert with your ears stopped up with cotton wool. We must admire the courage and the power of the school of the rigid electron which leaps across the widest mathematical hurdles with fabulous hypotheses, with the hope to land safely over there on experimental-physical ground.

      none of you really know what you are talking about.”
      Mr. Hologram (2011)

      Go figure?

      Pity. The only “behind” we are seeing here is yours, as you are given your hat and coat and kindly escorted out the door.

    2. To: Pat of “HOLOGRAMUNIVERSE”,

      All that your schoolyard, juvenile insults have demonstrated here is that you’re just a second-rate punk, typing out mindless moron drivel on his computer keyboard from his mom’s basement or attic.

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