NASA tallies Tropical Storm Fernand's massive rainfall from space

Aug 28, 2013 by Rob Gutro
NASA's TRMM Satellite data was used to generate rainfall totals for Fernand from August 20-27, 2013. More than 300mm (~11.8 inches) fell (red) in some areas. Fernand's track is shown overlaid in white. Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, also known as TRMM has the ability to measure rainfall from space. When Tropical Storm Fernand formed near Mexico's Gulf coast earlier this week, TRMM gathered data on the storm.

Heavy rain with Tropical Storm Fernand generated mudslides. According to the Latin Times, a total of 13 people died as the result of mudslides from Fernand's heavy rainfall. Nine people died in the municipality of Yecuautla, while three people died in Tuxpan and one person in Atzalan.

TRMM precipitation data are used to calibrate rainfall estimates from other satellites. The resulting TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. is used to estimate rainfall over a wide portion of the globe. The analysis for Fernand's rainfall showed estimated TMPA rainfall totals for the period from August 20-27, 2013 when Fernand was developing and moving through the area. Total rainfall greater than 300mm (~11.8 inches) appeared north of Tampico on Mexico's coastline.

The Latin Times reported damages to structures in 19 municipalities, and breaches of six rivers and streams.

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