GPM Catches Typhoon Yutu Making Landfall

NASA's GPM Core observatory satellite captured an image of Super Typhoon Yutu when it flew over the powerful storm just as the center was striking the central Northern Mariana Islands north of Guam.

Early Thursday, Oct. 25 local time, Super Typhoon Yutu crossed over the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It was the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. The National Weather Service in Guam said it was the strongest storm to hit any part of the U.S. this year.


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The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite, which is managed by both NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA analyzed Yutu on Oct. 24 at 11:07 a.m. EDT (1507 UTC)/ 1:07 a.m. Guam Time, Oct. 25. GPM estimated rain rates within Super Typhoon Yutu fusing data from two instruments aboard: the GPM Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar or DPR, which covered the inner part of the storm, and the GPM Microwave Imager or GMI that analyzed the outer swath, just as the center was passing over the Island of Tinian.

GPM shows the inner eyewall as a near perfect ring of heavy to intense rain. Peak rain rates of up to 269 mm/hr. (~10.6 inches/hr.) were estimated within the DPR swath. The almost perfect symmetry of the inner wall is indicative of an extremely powerful storm. In fact, at the time this image was taken, Yutu's maximum sustained winds were estimated at 155 knots (~178 mph) by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, making it the strongest typhoon on record to strike Saipan and Tinian.

GPM data is part of the toolbox of satellite data used by forecasters and scientists to understand how storms behave. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Current and future data sets are available with free registration to users from NASA Goddard's Precipitation Processing Center website.