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TRMM Satellite Sees System 98S Raining on Western Australia

December 30, 2010

System 98S is currently bringing rains and gusty winds to the northwestern coast of Western Australia, and NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite spotted areas of moderate to heavy rainfall in the system.

NASA’s TRMM satellite captured an image of System 98S’ rainfall when it passed overhead in space on Dec. 30 at 1310 UTC (8:10 a.m. EST). TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA that can estimate rainfall in a tropical cyclone from its vantage point in space.The heaviest rainfall was occurring over the Southern Indian Ocean while light to moderate rainfall – up to 40 millimeters (mm) or 1.57 inches per hour – was occurring over land areas near Kununurra at that time. Kununurra is located in the heart of the Kimberley in Western Australia, one of the world’s great wilderness areas.

At 1200 UTC (7 a.m. EST or 8 p.m.) on Dec. 30, the center was near the border of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) northwest of Kununurra and 45 kilometers (28 miles) east southeast of Wyndham. It is moving west- southwest at 28 kilometers (18 miles) per hour.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology warns that coastal areas of the west Kimberley between Kuri Bay and Wallal including Broome can expect a period of strong winds and heavy rain overnight from Friday into Saturday morning. Heavy rainfall of 100 to 150mm (4 to 6 inches) is expected in the north and west Kimberley over the next two days as the system moves westward with significant rises in rivers and streams. Residents should be prepared for local flooding.

System 98S is forecast to move to the west-southwest and move off the west Kimberley coast late Friday or early Saturday (local time) into the Southern Indian Ocean where it expected to strengthen into a tropical cyclone. By Sunday the system is likely to be north of Exmouth and continue to move toward the west. Further forecast updates and warnings can be found at: http://www.bom.gov.au/.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Image Caption: This TRMM satellite image on Dec. 30 at 1310 UTC (8:10 a.m. EST) shows some areas of System 98S’s rainfall in blue and yellow, which represents between 0 and 20 millimeters of rainfall per hour (.78 inch/hour). The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour. Red areas are considered heavy rainfall at almost 2 inches per hour and are off-shore. Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

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