Images produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC).
In April 2006, severe weather was very much in season across parts of the South and Midwest. Warm, humid air surged up from the Gulf of Mexico and interacted with strong upper-level winds. On April 2, 2006, twisters tore through the midsection of country. Sixty-eight tornadoes and 28 fatalities were reported. Of the fatalities, 24 were in Tennessee. This severe weather episode was followed less than a week later by another outbreak on April 7 that struck some of the same areas and resulted in 11 additional fatalities in Tennessee.
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (TRMM) observed the line of severe storms that swept through parts of the South in early April. The image was taken at 1:43 a.m. Central Daylight Time (06:43 UTC) on April 8, 2006. Rain rates in the center of the swath are from the TRMM Precipitation Radar, while those in the outer swath are from the TRMM Microwave Imager. The rain rates are overlaid on infrared data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner. The image shows areas of intense rainfall (darker reds) associated with the heavier thunderstorms at the leading edge of the system. Trailing behind is a broad area of light to moderate rain (green and blue areas). Powerful thunderstorms with heavy rain occurred along the leading edge of the storm system, fed by warm, moist air being drawn into the system at low levels. At the time this image was taken, tornadoes were being reported in Alabama, and additional tornadoes in northern Georgia were recorded not long after the TRMM observations.
TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency, JAXA.
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This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.