SOUTHEAST SOAKED BY FRONTAL SYSTEM, BONNIE, AND CHARLEY
A stalled frontal system along the eastern seaboard and landfalls from Tropical
Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley combined to drench the southeast US from
Florida up through the coastal midatlantic region. First, a stationary front
draped along the Appalachians provided the focus for showers and thunderstorms
from the Florida panhandle up through the midatlantic. Next, Tropical Storm
Bonnie made landfall in the panhandle of Florida on the 12th of August, 2004
near Apalachicola after forming in the south central Gulf of Mexico. Bonnie
moved rapidly across north Florida and into southeastern Georgia after coming
ashore. The system was quickly sheared apart and lost its identity as it made
landfall. Finally, Hurricane Charley, the most powerful hurricane to strike
Florida since Hurricane Andrew back in 1992, made landfall on the afternoon of
the 13th of August at Captiva Island on the southwest coast of Florida near
Punta Gorda after having crossed over Cuba during the night. Charley remained
a hurricane as it cut diagonally north-northeast across the Florida peninsula.
The storm then briefly re-emerged over the Atlantic before making a second
landfall on the Carolina coast. Charley finally weakened into a tropical storm
over coastal North Carolina before racing northeast across the mouth of the
Chesapeake Bay and back out to sea. An upper-level trough was responsible for
steering both Bonnie and Charley rapidly off to the north and east.
In November of 1997, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite was
launched in an effort to provide better estimates of rainfall over the global
Tropics. Since that time, TRMM has been providing un-precedented estimates of
rainfall over the Tropics using its array of passive and active sensors. TRMM
can cover vast areas of the Tropics where rainfall is poorly measured such as
over oceans and land areas where radar coverage is poor or lacking. The TRMM-
based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA) at the NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center provides rainfall estimates over the global Tropics.
MPA rainfall totals for the period 9-14 August 2004 are shown for the Southeast
US and northern Caribbean. A swath of 3 to 5 inch rainfall (green area) extends
from the central Gulf of Mexico into northern Florida as a result of Bonnie. A
heavier swath of rain containing 3 to 10 inch amounts (darker red areas) extends
from the north central Caribbean up through Cuba across Florida and merges with
a heavy rain area along the Carolina coast. This marks the path of Charley.
Rainfall amounts associated with these two storms were not excessive as both
systems moved quickly. Tropical storm and hurricane symbols indicate the paths
of Bonnie and Charley.
TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.