As Tropical Storm Claudette churned through the western Caribbean, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite captured these images of the storm at 2:46 am EDT on the 10th of July, 2003. Claudette was still about 200 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman when the images were taken, and at that time, Claudette was classified as a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.
The storm was moving quickly across the central and western Caribbean toward the west-northwest, but it was continuing to encounter wind shear as southwesterly winds blew the convection toward the northeast side of the center of the storm, preventing it from further strengthening. This poor organization is evident in the TRMM overpass which shows no evidence of a closed eye.
TRMM’s Precipitation Radar (PR) observations, which are overlaid on a GOES IR image, show that almost all of the light rain (in green) and heavy rain (in red) are on the northern and eastern side of Claudette (top image). NHC reported that the low-level center of circulation (shown by the red symbol) was located on the southwestern edge of the convection based on aircraft reconnaissance.
In the bottom image, the TRMM PR shows deep convective towers associated with the heavier rainfall (in dark red). These deep towers help to drive the storm as they release
heat near its center. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese
space agency NASDA. For more information on TRMM, please visit the TRMM Project Website.