Claudette, the first hurricane of the 2003 Atlantic season, came ashore Tuesday morning along the central Texas coast near Port O'Connor. The joint NASA/NASDA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite captured these images (left column) of Hurricane Claudette on July 15 at 6:53 am CDT (11:53 UTC) just hours before it made landfall. It shows that Claudette had become much better organized as it neared the coast with a closed eye. The brighter white areas (outer portions of swath) show the rain pattern and heavier rainfall amounts estimated by the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The green, yellow and red colors (inner swath) represent increasing rain intensity as seen by the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR). At the time the Tropical Prediction Center was estimating Claudette's winds at 75 mph. Also shown is an east-west cross section (left bottom image) through the eye of the storm taken by the PR while GOES infrared data shows the three-dimensional cloud perspective.
After coming ashore, Claudette brought strong gusty winds and heavy rainfall to the region. The TRMM-based, near-real-time Multi-satellite
Precipitation Analysis (MPA) from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center shows rainfall totals along the path of Claudette varying from 4 to 6 inches with locally heavier amounts along and near the coast. Further inland, rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches were measured over a broad area of south central Texas. These values are in general agreement with local ground-based radar estimates. The heaviest rainfall totals by far occurred over the central Gulf of Mexico where the MPA shows a wide area of 12-inch (darker reds) rainfall totals. These higher amounts were caused by Claudette’s slow forward motion as the storm became nearly stationary over the Gulf of Mexico for a short period. However, once Claudette resumed its westward motion the hurricane maintained a forward speed between 10 and 14 mph, helping to keep rainfall totals down.
TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency NASDA.