A NASA satellite maps precipitation from a Category 2 hurricane.
Hurricane Arthur became the first storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm formed on June 30 off the coast of Florida and was classified as a Category 2 hurricane when it made landfall over North Carolina on July 3. That morning, NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory satellite passed over the hurricane, detecting the drops of water that descended from its winding clouds. The satellite, which launched in February 2014, has two instruments that measure the location and intensity of water falling from inside a storm. Such observations help scientists distinguish the structure of features that power a hurricane, providing clues as to whether or not a storm will strengthen. Watch the video to see a 2D and 3D visualization of Arthur's precipitation as the hurricane approached shore.