NASA: Storms May Bring Killer Tornadoes and Temperature Drops in Southeastern U.S.

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By Genalyn Corocoto | November 21, 2011 5:19 PM EST

Rainfall data collected by the NASA's Tropical Rainfall Mission satellite show that deadly tornadoes and temperature drops of up to 20 percent are expected to accompany severe storms in some parts of the United States.

The findings were gathered after TRMM satellite flew over the southeastern United States at 2310 UTC (6:10 p.m. EST) Wednesday, when tornadoes were occurring with a line of thunderstorms that stretched from western Florida north through North Carolina.

The TRMM data was used to create a rainfall analysis of the line of severe thunderstorms associated with the cold front and it showed that the area of moderate to very heavy rainfall (falling at more than 2 inches or 50 mm per hour) with this frontal system was only located in a narrow line.

The findings were the result of the TRMM rainfall imagery. Rain rates images in the center swaths are taken from the TRMM Precipitation Radar, while rain rates in the outer swath are from the TRMM Microwave Imager. These rain rates are overlaid on infrared data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner to form a complete picture of the rainfall in a storm or storm system.

A three-dimensional image show is created from data collected from the TRMM's PR. The 3-D image shows the vertical structure or height of the thunderstorms: the higher the cloud tops go, the stronger the storm.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission is a joint mission of NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency designed to monitor and study tropical rainfall.

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