Hurricanes and Typhoons

A collection of data visualizations and imagery for tropical cyclones, including hurricanes and typhoons.

For more resources, visit the links below:

NASA's Hurricane Page

2017 Hurricane Archive

Precipitation Measurement Missions' Extreme Weather Page

Content Contact:

Tropical Cyclones: Visualizations

  • Hurricane Jose lingers in the Atlantic as Hurricane Maria approaches Puerto Rico
    2017.09.19
    The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission shows the rainfall distribution for two major storms churning in the Atlantic and Caribbean basins. The visualization shows Hurricane Jose as it continues to slowly move northward off the US East Coast east of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. At one time, Jose was a powerful category 4 border line category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds reported at 155 mph by the National Hurricane Center back on the 9th of September as it was approaching the northern Leeward Islands. Jose passed northeast of the Leeward Islands as a category 4 storm on a northwest track and then began to weaken due to the effects of northerly wind shear. Remaining over warm water allowed Jose to strengthen back into a hurricane on September 15th as wind shear across the storm diminished. At this time, Jose was still only midway between the central Bahamas and Bermuda, having just completed its loop, and moving to the northwest. On the 16th, Jose turned northward as it moved around the western edge of a ridge of high pressure near Bermuda and began to parallel the US East Coast well away from shore. An overpass by the GPM Core Observatory captured an image of Jose overnight at 3:36 UTC 18 September (11:36 pm EST 17 September) as the storm was moving due north at 9 mph well off shore from the coast of North Carolina. The GPM image estimated areas of very heavy rain on the order of 75 mm/hr (~3 inches per hour). The GPM Core Observatory satellite also had an excellent view of Hurricane Maria when it passed almost directly above the hurricane on September 17, 2017 at 1001 PM AST (September 18, 2017 0201 UTC). GPM's Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) showed that Maria had well defined bands of precipitation rotating around the eye of the tropical cyclone. GPM's radar (DPR Ku band) found rain falling at a rate of over 6.44 inches (163.7 mm) per hour in one of these extremely powerful storms northeast of Maria's eye. Intense thunderstorms were found towering to above 9.7 miles (15.7 km). This kind of chimney cloud is also called a "hot tower" (as it releases a huge quantity of latent heat by condensation). These tall thunderstorms in the eye wall are often a sign that a tropical cyclone is becoming more powerful. Maria rapidly intensified following this view to a Category 5 storm on September 19th.
  • GPM Examines Hurricane Irma
    2017.09.10
    The GPM core observatory satellite had an exceptional view of hurricane Irma's eye when it flew above it on September 5, 2017 at 12:52 PM AST (1652 UTC). This visualization shows a rainfall analysis that was derived from GPM's Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) data. Irma was approaching the Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of about 178 mph (155 kts). This made Irma a dangerous category five hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Intense rainfall is shown within Irma's nearly circular eye. This 3-D cross-section through Irma's eye was constructed using GPM's radar (DPR Ku band) data. GPM's radar revealed that the heavy precipitation rotating around the eye was reaching altitudes greater than 7.75 miles (12.5 km). The tallest thunderstorms were found by GPM's radar in a feeder band that was located to the southwest of Irma's eye. These extreme storms were reaching heights of over 10.0 miles (16.2 km). Intense downpours in the eye wall were found to be returning radar reflectivity values of over 80dBZ to the GPM satellite. Irma rapidly intensified on September 4-5 as it moved over very warm waters and into an environment will weak vertical wind shear (the change of winds with height). Irma maintained maximum winds of 185 mph for a day and a half, making it one of the longest-lived storms at this intensity. That intensity made it the strongest observed storm over the Atlantic Ocean (excluding the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean). Irma’s rapid intensification was very similar to Hurricane Harvey's in the Gulf about 10 days earlier.
  • Harvey Floods Texas and Threatens Louisiana (Final Tropical Storm Update)
    2017.08.31
    The Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) Core Observatory captured these images of Hurricane Harvey August 27th through the 30th, 2017. At 11:45 UTC and 21:25 UTC on the 27th of August nearly two days after the storm made landfall Harvey was meandering slowly southeast at just 2 mph (~4 kph) near Victoria, Texas west of Houston. The images at this stage show rain rates derived from GPM's GMI microwave imager (outer swath) and dual-frequency precipitation radar or DPR (inner swath) overlaid on enhanced infrared data from the GOES-East satellite as well as the IMERG precipitation product. Harvey's cyclonic circulation is still quite evident in the infrared clouds, but GPM shows that the rainfall pattern is highly asymmetric with the bulk of the rain located north or east of the center. A broad area of moderate rain can be seen stretching from near Galveston Bay to north of Houston and back well to the west. Within this are embedded areas of heavy rain (red areas); the peak estimated rain rate from GPM during these overpasses was 96 mm/hr (~3.77 inches per hour). With Harvey's circulation still reaching out over the Gulf, the storm is able to draw in a continuous supply of warm moist air to sustain the large amount of rain it is producing. At 10:45 UTC and 20:25 UTC on August 28th Harvey's outer bands can be seen drenching the Louisana coastline, despite the fact that the main part of the storm still lingered over Houston, Texas. Finally, on August 30th at 10:35 UTC Harvey can be seen shortly after making landfall a second time. Approximately 10 hours later Harvey can still be seen in nearly the same location continuing to dump heavy amounts of rain across the Texas/Louisiana border.
  • NASA Studies Hurricane Matthew
    2017.07.31
    Hurricane Matthew was the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane in almost ten years. Its torrential rains and winds caused significant damage and loss of life as it coursed through the Caribbean and up along the southeastern U.S. coast. Researchers use a combination of satellite observations to re-create a multi-dimensional picture of the hurricane in order to study the complex atmospheric interactions.
  • NASA Satellite Captures 3-D View Of Hurricane Matthew
    2016.10.07
    NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement Mission or GPM core satellite captured Hurricane Matthew in 3-D as it made landfall on Haiti and as it travelled up to the Florida coast. GPM flew directly over the storm several times between October 2 - October 6, 2016. The most recent view on October 6 reveals massive amounts of rainfall being produced by the storm as it approaches Florida.

    The GPM core satellite carries two instruments that show the location and intensity of rain and snow, which defines a crucial part of the storm structure – and how it will behave. The GPM Microwave Imager sees through the tops of clouds to observe how much and where precipitation occurs, and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar observes precise details of precipitation in 3-dimensions.

    For more information about the science behind Hurricane Matthew visit: http://www.nasa.gov/matthew

    For the latest storm warnings and safety information please consult your local news channels and the National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

    Video credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Joy Ng

    Music credit: Diamond Skies by Andrew Skeet [PRS], Anthony Phillips [PRS] from the KillerTracks catalog

  • Category 4 Hurricane Matthew on October 2, 2016
    2017.01.22
    NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite flew over Hurricane Matthew as the category 4 hurricane on October 2, 2016 shortly after it downgraded from a category 5 hurricane. The GPM Core Observatory carries two instruments that show the location and intensity of rain and snow, which defines a crucial part of the storm structure – and how it will behave. The GPM Microwave Imager sees through the tops of clouds to observe how much and where precipitation occurs, and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar observes precise details of precipitation in 3-dimensions. 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.
  • GPM Monitors Hurricane Matthew Flooding the Carolinas
    2016.10.11
    NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite flew over Hurricane Matthew as the category 2 hurricane drenched North and South Carolina with record-breaking rainfall on October 8, 2016 resulting in historical flooding throughout the Carolinas. The GPM Core Observatory carries two instruments that show the location and intensity of rain and snow, which defines a crucial part of the storm structure – and how it will behave. The GPM Microwave Imager sees through the tops of clouds to observe how much and where precipitation occurs, and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar observes precise details of precipitation in 3-dimensions. 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.
  • GPM Monitors Hurricane Matthew Nearing Florida
    2016.10.06
    NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite flew over Hurricane Matthew several times as the category 4 storm headed toward Florida. The GPM Core Observatory carries two instruments that show the location and intensity of rain and snow, which defines a crucial part of the storm structure – and how it will behave. The GPM Microwave Imager sees through the tops of clouds to observe how much and where precipitation occurs, and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar observes precise details of precipitation in 3-dimensions. 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.
  • Tracking Kilo from Hurricane to Typhoon
    2015.09.17
    The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission's core satellite captured Hurricane Kilo throughout its life cycle as Kilo slowly worked it's way westward across the Pacific Ocean. Kilo eventually crossed the international dateline where it officially changed from a "hurricane" to a "typhoon". Along it's way, Kilo put itself in the record books. Kilo was the 3rd named storm of the 2015 hurricane season to cross the international dateline. It was also a very long lasting storm persisting for 21 days, which made it a fairly rare event. Because it was such a long lasting storm, GPM was able to capture it several times throughout the course of it's life span. Such multiple captures of the same storm can help scientists better understand the development of hurricanes.

Tropical Cyclones: Visible Imagery

  • Trio of Hurricanes Over the Pacific Ocean
    2015.09.18
    Hurricanes traversing the Pacific Ocean are often solitary storms. Occasionally they show up in pairs. But according to meteorologists, August 2015 marked the first time in recorded history that three Category 4 storms simultaneously paraded over the central and eastern Pacific. This image pair shows hurricanes Kilo, Ignacio, and Jimena (from west to east) at night, and about 12 hours later during daylight hours. The nighttime image is a mosaic, based on data collected during three orbital passes of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite, acquired between 11:30 PM and 3:00 AM Hawaii Standard Time on August 29-30. The second natural-color image is also a mosaic, acquired by VIIRS between about 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM Hawaii Standard Time on August 30. At the time, all three hurricanes were Category 4 storms. Hurricane Kilo had maximum sustained winds of 215 km (135 mi) per hour, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Meanwhile, Hurricane Ignacio had similar sustained wind speeds that measured 220 km (140 mi) per hour. Huricane Jimena, the easternmost of the three storms, carried maximum sustained winds of about 210 km (130 mi) per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.
  • Hurricane Crossing
    2015.09.10
    NASA observes three powerful storms simultaneously whipping across the Pacific Ocean.
  • Tropical Storm Bill
    2015.06.23
    Explore views of the storm taken from space.
  • Hurricane Irene
    2011.09.15
    This visualization follows the development of Hurricane Irene as it moves up the East Coast of the United States in August of 2011. There are three versions of this visualization. Two of the versions follow the eye of the storm until it dissipates, then pulls back to reveal the rain fall accumulation track as measured by the Tropcical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) using two different color tables. The first version only includes rainfall along the storm track. The second and third versions include all rainfall. The third version shows the rainfall accumulating as the storm moves.

    These visualizations were created to support presenstations at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) 2011.

Historic Storms

  • Harvey Floods Texas and Threatens Louisiana (Final Tropical Storm Update)
    2017.08.31
    The Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) Core Observatory captured these images of Hurricane Harvey August 27th through the 30th, 2017. At 11:45 UTC and 21:25 UTC on the 27th of August nearly two days after the storm made landfall Harvey was meandering slowly southeast at just 2 mph (~4 kph) near Victoria, Texas west of Houston. The images at this stage show rain rates derived from GPM's GMI microwave imager (outer swath) and dual-frequency precipitation radar or DPR (inner swath) overlaid on enhanced infrared data from the GOES-East satellite as well as the IMERG precipitation product. Harvey's cyclonic circulation is still quite evident in the infrared clouds, but GPM shows that the rainfall pattern is highly asymmetric with the bulk of the rain located north or east of the center. A broad area of moderate rain can be seen stretching from near Galveston Bay to north of Houston and back well to the west. Within this are embedded areas of heavy rain (red areas); the peak estimated rain rate from GPM during these overpasses was 96 mm/hr (~3.77 inches per hour). With Harvey's circulation still reaching out over the Gulf, the storm is able to draw in a continuous supply of warm moist air to sustain the large amount of rain it is producing. At 10:45 UTC and 20:25 UTC on August 28th Harvey's outer bands can be seen drenching the Louisana coastline, despite the fact that the main part of the storm still lingered over Houston, Texas. Finally, on August 30th at 10:35 UTC Harvey can be seen shortly after making landfall a second time. Approximately 10 hours later Harvey can still be seen in nearly the same location continuing to dump heavy amounts of rain across the Texas/Louisiana border.
  • NASA Studies Hurricane Matthew
    2017.07.31
    Hurricane Matthew was the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane in almost ten years. Its torrential rains and winds caused significant damage and loss of life as it coursed through the Caribbean and up along the southeastern U.S. coast. Researchers use a combination of satellite observations to re-create a multi-dimensional picture of the hurricane in order to study the complex atmospheric interactions.
  • What Are The Chances Of Another Katrina?
    2015.05.13
    The U.S. hasn’t experienced the landfall of a Category 3 hurricane or larger since 2005, when Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma all hit the U.S. coast. According to a new NASA study, a string of nine years without a major hurricane landfall in the U.S. is Iikely to come along only once every 177 years.

    The current nine-year “drought” is the longest period of time that has passed without a major hurricane making landfall in the U.S. since reliable records began in 1850, said Timothy Hall, a research scientist who studies hurricanes at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York.

    The National Hurricane Center calls any Category 3 or more intense hurricane a “major” storm. Hall and colleague Kelly Hereid, who works for ACE Tempest Re, a reinsurance firm based in Connecticut, ran a statistical hurricane model based on a record of Atlantic tropical cyclones from 1950 to 2012 and sea surface temperature data.

    The researchers ran 1,000 computer simulations of the period from 1950-2012 – in effect simulating 63,000 separate Atlantic hurricane seasons. They found that a nine-year period without a major landfall is likely to occur once every 177 years on average.

    While the study did not delve into the meteorological causes behind this lack of major hurricane landfalls, Hall said it appears it is a result of luck.

    Research: The frequency and duration of U.S. hurricane droughts.

    Journal: Geophysical Research Letters, May 5, 2015.

    Link to paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/2015GL063652/full.

    Here is the YouTube video.

  • Hurricane Sandy
    2013.03.08
    Surface and near-surface (850 hPa) wind speeds from the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System Model (GEOS-5) operational assimilation system (consisting of a 50-kilometer analysis coupled with a 25-kilometer model) beginning September 1, 2012 preceding a 7-kilometer global simulation with the GEOS-5 atmospheric model initialized at 09Z on October 26, 2012 reveal the massive size of Hurricane Sandy versus the other storms for this period, including the persistent Hurricane Nadine, as well as hurricanes Michael and Rafael. The 7-kilometer simulation depicts the strong onshore winds in New York and New Jersey even after landfall and the dramatic influence of the land surface slowing down Sandy's inland surface winds.
  • Analyzing Superstorm Sandy
    2013.10.30
    A rare convergence of environmental conditions during Hurricane Sandy’s lifecycle led to a storm of unforgettable destruction—hence its nickname, Superstorm Sandy. Scientists can analyze the structure and lifecycle of severe storms like Sandy using weather prediction models and incorporate what they learn into newer models, which hopefully result in even more accurate hurricane forecasts in the future. Scientists at NASA used the Goddard Earth Observing System Model, Version 5 (GEOS-5) to simulate surface wind speeds across the Atlantic during Sandy’s lifecycle. The large image above shows surface wind speeds on October 29, 2012, as simulated by the GEOS-5 at 7-kilometer (~4.3-mile) resolution just before the storm made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Wind speeds range from approximately 10 miles per hour (15 kilometers per hour), shown as dark blue, to 80 miles per hour (130 kilometers per hour), shown as very light purple. In the days following landfall, the remnants of Sandy moved inland over Northern New England and Canada before finally dissipating. The three smaller images show how GEOS-5 simulations of sea level pressure [left], surface wind speeds [center], and accumulated rainfall amounts [right] from October 26, 2012 to October 31, 2012, compare to observations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center.

    Used in 2014 Calendar.

  • Tracking a Superstorm
    2013.06.06
    A NASA computer model simulates the astonishing track and forceful winds of Hurricane Sandy.
  • Hurricane Sandy Causes Blackouts in New Jersey and New York
    2013.10.21
    In the days following landfall of Hurricane Sandy, millions remained without power. This pair of images shows the difference in city lighting across New Jersey and New York before (August 31, 2012), when conditions were normal, and after (November 1, 2012) the storm. Both images were captured by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) “day-night band” onboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, which detects light in a range of wavelengths and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as gas flares, city lights, and reflected moonlight. In Manhattan, the lower third of the island is dark on November 1, while Rockaway Beach, much of Long Island, and nearly all of central New Jersey are significantly dimmer. The barrier islands along the New Jersey coast, which are heavily developed with tourist businesses and year-round residents, are just barely visible in moonlight after the blackout.
  • Katrina - Supercomputing Power
    2015.08.25
    How advances in science and computer modeling have lead to improvements in studying hurricanes.
  • Katrina Retrospective: 5 Years After the Storm
    2010.08.24
    On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Gulf Coast. Five years later, NASA revisits the storm with a short video that shows Katrina as captured by satellites. Before and during the hurricane's landfall, NASA provided data gathered from a series of Earth observing satellites to help predict Katrina's path and intensity. In its aftermath, NASA satellites also helped identify areas hardest hit.

    For complete transcript, click here.

  • GOES-12 Imagery of Hurricane Katrina: Longwave Infrared Close-up (WMS)
    2005.10.05
    The GOES-12 satellite sits at 75 degrees west longitude at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers over the equator, in geosynchronous orbit. At this position its Imager instrument takes pictures of cloud patterns in several wavelengths for all of North and South America, a primary measurement used in weather forecasting. The Imager takes a pattern of pictures of parts of the Earth in several wavelengths all day, measurements that are vital in weather forecasting. This animation shows a four-day sequence of GOES-12 images in the longwave infrared wavelengths, from 10.2 to 11.2 microns, during the period that Hurricane Katrina passed through the Gulf of Mexico. This wavelength band is the most common one for observing cloud motions and severe storms throughout the day and night. Since GOES-12 takes images most often over the United States (every 5 to 10 minutes), the motion of the clouds in this close-up of the southeast US is very smooth.
  • Hurricane Katrina Rain Accumulation
    2005.09.08
    This animation shows rain accumulation from Hurricane Katrina from August 23 through 30, 2005 based on data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis. Satellite cloud data from NOAA/GOES is overlaid for context. The accumulation is shown in colors ranging from green (less than 30 mm of rain) through red (80 mm or more). The TRMM satellite, using the world's only spaceborne rain radar and other microwave instruments, measures rainfall over the ocean.
  • Hurricane Katrina Hot Towers
    2005.09.15
    NASA's TRMM spacecraft allows us to look under Hurricane Katrina's clouds to see the rain structure on August 28, 2005 at 0324Z. Spikes in the rain structure known as 'hot towers' indicate storm intensity. 'Hot Towers' refers to tall cumulonimbus clouds and has been seen as one of the mechanisms by which the intensity of a tropical cyclone is maintained. Because of the size (1-20 km) and short duration (30 minute to 2 hours) of these hot towers, studies of these events have been limited to descriptive studies from aircraft observations, although a few have attempted to use the presence of hot towers in a predictive capacity. Before TRMM, no data set existed that could show globally and definitively the presence of these hot towers in cyclone systems. Aircraft radar studies of individual storms lack global coverage. Global microwave or Infrared sensor observations do not provide the needed spatial resolution. With a ground resolution of 5 km, the TRMM Precipitation Radar provided the needed data set for examining the predictive value of hot towers in cyclone intensification.

Spacecraft Animations

Edited Features

  • NASA Catches Hurricanes Jose and Maria
    2017.09.20
    The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission shows the rainfall distribution for two major storms churning in the Atlantic and Caribbean basins. The visualization shows Hurricane Jose as it continues to slowly move northward off the US East Coast east of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. At one time, Jose was a powerful Category 4 border line Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds reported at 155 mph by the National Hurricane Center back on the 9th of September as it was approaching the northern Leeward Islands. Jose passed northeast of the Leeward Islands as a Category 4 storm on a northwest track and then began to weaken due to the effects of northerly wind shear. Remaining over warm water allowed Jose to strengthen back into a hurricane on September 15th as wind shear across the storm diminished. At this time, Jose was still only midway between the central Bahamas and Bermuda, having just completed its loop, and moving to the northwest. On the 16th, Jose turned northward as it moved around the western edge of a ridge of high pressure near Bermuda and began to parallel the US East Coast well away from shore. An overpass by the GPM Core Observatory captured an image of Jose overnight at 3:36 UTC 18 September (11:36 pm EST 17 September) as the storm was moving due north at 9 mph well off shore from the coast of North Carolina. The GPM image estimated areas of very heavy rain on the order of 75 mm/hr (~3 inches per hour). The GPM Core Observatory satellite also had an excellent view of Hurricane Maria when it passed almost directly above the hurricane on September 17, 2017 at 1001 PM AST (September 18, 2017 0201 UTC). GPM's Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) showed that Maria had well defined bands of precipitation rotating around the eye of the tropical cyclone. GPM's radar (DPR Ku band) found rain falling at a rate of over 6.44 inches (163.7 mm) per hour in one of these extremely powerful storms northeast of Maria's eye. Intense thunderstorms were found towering to above 9.7 miles (15.7 km). This kind of chimney cloud is also called a "hot tower" (as it releases a huge quantity of latent heat by condensation). These tall thunderstorms in the eye wall are often a sign that a tropical cyclone is becoming more powerful. Maria rapidly intensified following this view to a Category 5 storm on September 19th.
  • A New Multi-dimensional View of a Hurricane
    2017.07.25
    NASA researchers now can use a combination of satellite observations to re-create multi-dimensional pictures of hurricanes and other major storms in order to study complex atmospheric interactions. In this video, they applied those techniques to Hurricane Matthew. When it occurred in the fall of 2016, Matthew was the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane in almost ten years. Its torrential rains and winds caused significant damage and loss of life as it coursed through the Caribbean and up along the southern U.S. coast.
  • Ten-Year Gap in Major Hurricanes Continues
    2016.05.27
    Could the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season break the 10-year “hurricane drought” record? It has been a decade since the last major hurricane, Category 3 or higher, has made landfall in the United States. This is the longest period of time for the United States to avoid a major hurricane since reliable records began in 1850. According to a NASA study, a 10-year gap comes along only every 270 years. The National Hurricane Center calls any Category 3 or more intense hurricane a “major” storm. It should be noted that hurricanes making landfall as less than Category 3 can still cause extreme damage, with heavy rains and coastal storm surges. Such was the case with Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Timothy Hall, a research scientist who studies hurricanes at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York and colleague Kelly Hereid, who works for ACE Tempest Re, a reinsurance firm based in Connecticut, ran a statistical hurricane model based on a record of Atlantic tropical cyclones from 1950 to 2012 and sea surface temperature data. The researchers ran 1,000 computer simulations of the period from 1950-2012 – in effect simulating 63,000 separate Atlantic hurricane seasons. They also found that there is approximately a 40% chance that a major hurricane will make landfall in the United States every year. These visualizations show hurricane tracks from 1980 through 2015. Green tracks are storms that did not make landfall in the U.S.; yellow tracks are storms that made landfall but were not Category 3 or higher; and red tracks are Category 3 or higher hurricanes that did make landfall. Research: The frequency and duration of U.S. hurricane droughts Journal: Geophysical Research Letters, May 5, 2015
  • GPM 2015: One Year of Storms
    2016.01.04
    A look back at the storms captured by GPM around the world during 2015.

    The storms that appear in order are as follows:

    1. New England Nor’easter – January 26 – New England, USA

    2. Snowstorm – February 17 – Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina, USA

    3. Tornadic Thunderstorms in Midwest – March 25 – Oklahoma and Arkansas, USA

    4. Typhoon Maysak – March 30 – Yap Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean

    5. Rain Accumulation from Cyclone Quang – April 28 through May 3 - Australia

    6. Flooding in Central Texas and Oklahoma – May 19 through May 26 - USA

    7. Hurricane Blanca – June 1 – Eastern Pacific Ocean, Baja Peninsula, Mexico

    8. Tropical Storm Ashobaa – June 8 – Arabian Sea

    9. Tropical Storm Carlos – June 12 – Southwestern Coast, Mexico

    10. Tropical Storm Bill – June 16 – Texas, USA

    11. USA Rain Accumulation – June through July - USA

    12. Tropical Storm Raquel – July 1 – Solomon Islands, South Pacific Ocean

    13. Tropical Storm Claudette – July 13 – North Atlantic Ocean

    14. Typhoon Nangka – July 15 - Japan

    15. Hurricane Delores Remnants Rainfall – July 13 through 20 – Southwestern USA

    16. Typhoon Halola – July 21 - Japan

    17. Typhoon Soudelor – August 5 – Taiwan and China

    18. Hurricane/Typhoon Kilo – August 23 through September 9 – Hawaii and Pacific Ocean

    19. Tropical Storm Erika – August 26 – Caribbean Sea

    20. Tropical Storm Fred – August 30 – Cape Verde

    21. Tropical Depression Nine – September 16 – Central Atlantic Ocean

    22. Tropical Storm Ida – September 21 – Central Atlantic Ocean

    23. Tropical Storm Niala – September 25 – Hawaii and Pacific Ocean

    24. Tropical Storm Marty – September 27 – Southwestern Coast, Mexico

    25. Typhoon Dujuan – September 22 through September 29 – Taiwan and China

    26. Hurricane Joaquin – September 29 – Caribbean Sea

    27. Typhoon Koppu – October 15 - Philippines

    28. Hurricane Patricia – October 22 – Texas, USA

    29. Tropical Cyclone Chapala – October 28 through November 3 – Yemen and Arabian Sea

    30. Tropical Cyclone Megh – November 8 – Yemen and Arabian Sea

    31. Typhoon IN-FA – November 19 – Western Pacific Ocean

    32. Hurricane Sandra – November 26 – Eastern Pacific Ocean

    33. India Flooding – November 28 through December 4 – Tamil Nadu, India

    34. Winter Storm Desmond – November 30 through December 7 – United Kingdom

    35. Tropical Cyclone 05S – December 9 – Reunion and Mauritius, South Indian Ocean

    36. Super Typhoon Melor – December 12 - Philippines

    37. Tornadoes and Flooding in Midwest – December 21 through December 28 – Midwestern USA

    38. Paraguay Flooding – December 22 through December 29 – Asuncion, Paraguay

    39. Tropical Depression 95P – December 29 – Pacific Ocean

    40. Tropical Cyclone 06P (ULA) – December 30 – Samoa, South Pacific Ocean

    41. Near Real-Time IMERG – December 25 through December 31

  • GPM Gets a Ton of Kilo
    2015.09.17
    The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission core satellite provided many views of Tropical Cyclone over its very long life. GPM is a satellite co-managed by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency that has the ability to analyze rainfall and cloud heights. GPM was able to provide data on Kilo over its 21 day life-span. The GPM core observatory satellite flew over Kilo on August 25, 2015 at 0121 UTC as it approached Johnson Atoll and found that rainfall intensity had recently increased and the tropical depression's storm tops were very tall. GPM's Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) discovered that rain was falling at a rate of almost 65 mm (2.6 inches) per hour and storm tops were measured at altitudes of over 15.4 km (9.5 miles) Kilo was born in the Central Pacific Ocean on August 21, became a hurricane, crossed the International Dateline and was re-classified as a Typhoon and finally became extra-tropical on September 11 off Hokkaido, Japan, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands.
  • Towers In The Tempest
    2010.07.28
    How cloud super-engines shift hurricanes into overdrive.
  • 27 Storms: Arlene to Zeta
    2011.10.06
    Find out what fueled one of the worst hurricane seasons in history.

More Resources

  • Global Precipitation Measurement
    Gallery
    The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is an international network of satellites that provide the next-generation global observations of rain and snow. Building upon the success of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the GPM concept centers on the deployment of a "Core" satellite carrying an advanced radar / radiometer system to measure precipitation from space and serve as a reference standard to unify precipitation measurements from a constellation of research and operational satellites. Through improved measurements of precipitation globally, the GPM mission will help to advance our understanding of Earth's water and energy cycle, improve forecasting of extreme events that cause natural hazards and disasters, and extend current capabilities in using accurate and timely information of precipitation to directly benefit society. GPM, initiated by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a global successor to TRMM, comprises a consortium of international space agencies, including the Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and others. The GPM Core Observatory launched from Tanegashima Space Center, Japan, at 1:37 PM EST on February 27, 2014.

    For more information and resources please visit the Precipitation Measurement Missions web site.

  • Hurricane Resource Page
    2015.05.29
    This Reel Includes the Following Sections TRT 50:10 Hurricane Overviews 1:02; Hurricane Arthur 15:07; Cyclone Pam 19:48; Typhoon Hagupit 21:27; Hurricane Bertha 22:03; Hurricanes Iselle and Julio 23:15; September 2014 Hurricane Alley 25:07; Satellite Beauty Passes 28:31; Hurricane Katrina 36:32; Global Portrait of Precipitation 42:00; Typhoon Halong 42:36; Typhoon Maysak 43:13; Superstorm Sandy 44:21; Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo 45:29; RapidScat 46:12; CYGNSS 49:16 Super(s): NASA; Center Contact: Rob Gutro 301-286-4044; HQ Contact: Steve Cole 202-358-0918; Link to gallery hurricane and typhoon resource page. Includes a section for named storms between 1988-2007 including Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Gallery page also includes the following sections: hurricane resources; TRMM 3D hurricane products; narrated hurricane products and hurricanes sea surface temperature connections. Gallery resource page for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. Includes 3D scans of recent storms like Hurricane Bertha and Super Typhoon Maysak. It also includes IMERG visualizations, beauty passes of the satellite and edited features. Gallery resource page for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). Video file for the RapidScat mission. More information about RapidScat can be found HERE. Link to video for the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, or CYGNSS mission. More about the mission HERE.
  • Near Real-Time Global Precipitation from the Global Precipitation Measurement Constellation
    2015.03.31
    The global IMERG precipitation dataset provides rainfall rates for the entire world every thirty minutes. This remarkable dataset is created by combining precipitation measurements from 10 international satellites: GPM, TRMM, GCOM-W1, NOAA-18, NOAA-19, DMSP F-16, DMSP F-17, DMSP F-18, Metop-A, and Metop-B Although the process to create the combined dataset is intensive, the Global Precipitation Measurement team creates a preliminary, near real-time data set of precipitation within about a day of data acquisition. The animation on this page shows the most recent week or so of that preliminary data.
  • The View from Space: Data Visualizations of Hurricane Katrina
    Gallery
    In the last week of August 2005, what had originated as a disturbance off the western coast of Africa transformed into a devastating storm, ravaging the southern United States.

    Water consumed the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, submerging chunks of Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

    NASA’s satellites watched the devastation from overhead, sending down a deluge of data that scientists would study for years to come.

    For more information about Hurricane Katrina:
    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/archives/2005/h2005_katrina.html

Visuals