Thunderstorms Across the Southern US

Thunderstorms Across the Southern US
  • Credit:

    Images produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC)

An advancing frontal system has brought heavy rains to the Mississippi Valley region and the northern Gulf Coast. Low pressure over the central plains tapped into abundant gulf moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to produce numerous storms ahead of an advancing cold front. Deep-layer southerly winds in front of the low transported warm, moist air up from the Gulf northward into the Mississippi Valley. Storms that formed within this moist air ahead of the cold front deposited significant amounts of rain from eastern Texas up through the Mississippi Valley and over to the Florida panhandle. The continuous regeneration of storms all the way down into the Gulf of Mexico combined with their movement to the north led to an effect known as "training" whereby several different storms pass over the same area. This can lead to significant rainfall accumulations.

This image shows rainfall totals for the period 12 to 19 November 2003 from the TRMM-based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. A swath of moderate rainfall (green region) of 3-inch plus rainfall extends from East Texas across Louisiana up through the Mississippi Valley and into the Ohio Valley with locally heavier amounts of near 8 inches (in red). A similar pattern extends back into western Missouri and into northeastern Illinois. Moderate amounts fell over the Gulf Coast region from southern Mississippi across the Florida panhandle.

TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency NASDA.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    November 19, 2003
  • Visualization Date:

    November 19, 2003
  • Sensor(s):

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration