NASA sees heavy rainfall as Cyclone Mahasen made landfall

May 16, 2013
When NASA's TRMM satellite passed over Cyclone Mahasen on May 16 at 04:06 UTC (12:04 a.m. EDT), the TRMM Microwave imager showed the heaviest rainfall was occurring in a band of thunderstorms north of the center of circulation. That band of thunderstorms was already over southern Bangladesh and dropping as much as 2 inches/50 mm of rain per hour along the coast. Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

NASA's TRMM satellite identified areas of heavy rainfall as Cyclone Mahasen made landfall today, May 16, in southern Bangladesh. NASA's Aqua satellite also captured an image of the storm and showed the extent of Cyclone Mahasen's clouds over three countries.

When NASA's Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed over Cyclone Mahasen on May 16 at 0406 UTC (12:04 a.m. EDT), the showed the heaviest rainfall was occurring in a band of thunderstorms north of the center of circulation. That band of thunderstorms was already over southern Bangladesh and dropping as much as 2 inches/50 mm of rain per hour along the coast. TRMM measured the highest near 7.4 miles / 12 km high.

The MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Cyclone Mahasen on May 16 at 6:50 UTC (2:50 a.m. EDT) when its clouds extended over India, Bangladesh, and Burma. Credit: Credit: NASA Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team

Mahasen made landfall northwest of Chittagong around 0600 UTC (2 a.m. EDT) on May 16, as a tropical storm with near 45 knots (51.7 mph/83.3 kph). Mahasen is moving further inland in a north-northeasterly direction at 22 knots (25.3 mph/45.7 kph). At 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT), Mahasen was located near 23.7 north and 91.7 east, about 53 nautical miles (61 miles/98.1 km)southeast of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Just 50 minutes after TRMM captured the rainfall rates within Mahasen, the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Cyclone Mahasen that showed the extent of its clouds over India, Bangladesh, and Burma.

As of 12:38 UTC (8:38 a.m. EDT), the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) maintained a Signal Number 3 warning for maritime ports of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Mongla. For a look at Bangladesh radar, visit the BMD web page: http://tinyurl.com/c5vbs35.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
This animation shows a simulated 3-D analysis of NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite's multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA). It shows rainfall that occurred with tropical cyclone Mahasen during the period from May 6-16, 2013 as tropical cyclone Mahasen was making it's deadly transit through the Bay Of Bengal. Rainfall from Mahasen is only adding to flooding rainfall that had already occurred in the area. TRMM's Precipitation Radar (PR) found rain within Mahasen falling at a rain of over 67mm/hr (~2.6 inches) on May 15 and at a rate of over 57mm/hr (~2.25 inches) on May 16. Rainfall totals of about 544mm (~21.4 inches) were found with this analysis over Bangladesh and north-east India. Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce

The interaction with the land is causing Mahasen to fall apart rapidly, according to forecasters at the Joint . The system became disorganized just hours after it made landfall.

Mahasen is forecast to track across northeastern India while weakening, especially as it tracks over rugged terrain. Mahasen is also expected to encounter strong wind shear which will help speed the weakening and drop it below tropical storm status later in the day.

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