Images produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang
Lupit began as a tropical depression on November 19, 2003 about 375 miles west of the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The depression moved due west and became a tropical storm a day later on the 20th. Lupit continued moving west, skirting the northern edge of the Caroline Islands before becoming a minimal Category 1 typhoon at 06:00 UTC on November 22, about 90 miles north of Truk Island. As it passed
about 350 miles due south of Guam on the 23rd, Lupit had become a Category 2 storm with winds estimated at 110 miles per hour by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Lupit then turned towards the northwest and headed for the Philippine Sea, continuing to intensify. Lupit became a Super Typhoon on November 26, with winds estimated at more than 165 miles per hour.
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite captured this remarkable image of Super Typhoon Lupit as the storm entered the Philippine Sea about 175 miles north-northwest of the Yap Islands. The image was taken at 17:42 UTC on November 25, 2003. At the time, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center had classified Lupit as a powerful Category 4 typhoon, estimating its sustained winds at around 135 miles per hour.
This image shows a vertical cross section through the eyewall of Lupit from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), the first such radar to be flown in space. It shows that the intense rainfall along the western eyewall is associated with deep convection with towers that extend as high 16 km. These deep towers occur in conjunction with convective bursts which can often be associated with further strengthening. Just over 12 hours after this image was taken Lupit would become a Super Typhoon.
TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency NASDA.
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This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.