This image was generated by Hal Pierce of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
During the past few days (May 15-19, 2003) Tropical Cyclone 01B developed in the Indian Ocean and achieved hurricane status for a few hours. However, the storm has produced copious amounts of rainfall leading to a large loss of life in Sri Lanka. The heavy rain accumulation, exceeding nine inches, is shown in the accompanying image. The rain accumulation map was produced using the TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA's TRMM or Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission features a spaceborne weather radar built by the Japanese space agency NASDA. In operation for five years, TRMM has provided unprecedented views of tropical rain events around the globe, and now also provides information on flash flood potential (accessed by visiting the TRMM website at trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov).
In this image, note the huge rainfall footprint produced by Tropical Cyclone 01B as it intensified over the Bay of Bengal. At first, it would appear that the isolated rainfall pocket located over Sri Lanka bears little relation to the burgeoning tropical storm. However, there is evidence to suggest that the rainstorms that deluged Sri Lanka were associated with an outer "feeder band" of moisture entering the tropical cyclone from the southwest.
This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.