NASA satellite image shows deadly Typhoon Morakot slamming Taiwan

August 7, 2009
NASA's CloudSat captured a side view of Morakot on Aug. 7 and found Morakot's clouds are over 17 km (10 miles) high! Credit: NASA/JPL/CSU/NRL-Monterey

Sometimes satellite imagery will leave a person in awe of nature's power and that's what the latest satellite image from NASA's Aqua satellite will do as it shows the giant Typhoon Morakot's center about to cross Taiwan. Morakot has already caused problems in Taiwan on its approach and has proven deadly in the Philippines.

Taiwan has already reported flooding rains, landslides, gusty winds and power outages on Friday, August 7 as Morakot was making landfall and crossing the island nation on its way to a final landfall in China on Saturday. BBC News reported some mountainous areas of northern had already received up to 20 inches of rain. Taiwan has ordered airline flights canceled and schools closed.

NASA's Aqua flew over the 1,000 mile in diameter-wide Morakot and captured an awesome image of its clouds using the Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on August 7 at 1:25 a.m. EDT. The image shows Morakot's center about to cross over east-central Taiwan. Morakot is so large that the southern extent of its cloud cover and heavy rains reach into the northern . According to People's Daily on-line, ten people have already lost their lives to Morakot's wrath.

The MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this stunning image of giant Typhoon Morakot just before landfall in Taiwan on August 6 at 1:25 a.m. EDT. Credit: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response

On Friday, Aug. 7 at 11 a.m. EDT, Morakot's sustained winds were near 92 mph (80 knots). Satellite imagery is showing the beginning development of an "eye" in Morakot's center, indicating its strengthening as it approaches landfall in Taiwan. The center of the was near 24.0 north and 121.7 east, about 70 miles south-southeast of Taipei, Taiwan, moving west-northwest.

After Morakot's landfall in Taiwan it is forecast to turn northwest after reemerging into the Strait of Taiwan. Forecasters at the U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center are forecasting that Morakot "will enter the Taiwan Strait as a weak typhoon and should maintain its intensity through the strait due to favorable sea surface temperatures and minimal vertical wind shear values."

The forecast track looks like the storm will form an "L" on its path. It is expected to lose some of its strength as its eye crosses part of Taiwan. Landfall is expected to occur on Saturday in mainland China near Fuzhou and the storm is then expected to shoot north, just to the west of Shanghai.

Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Explore further: Typhoon Morakot's cloud top extent doubled in size in one day

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