NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement Analyzed Matthew As It Strengthened To Cat. 5

By  //  October 3, 2016

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Matthew reached Cat 5 at 11 p.m. EDT on Sept. 30

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On Sept. 30 at 5:46 a.m. EDT GPM’s radar saw a very intense feeder band of thunderstorms southeast Matthew’s center where rainfall rates were greater than 229 (9 inches) per hour and storm top heights in the feeder band were reaching heights above 16 km (9.9 miles).

(NASA) –  Matthew rapidly intensified Thursday evening, Sept. 29 and by Friday Sept. 30 at 11 p.m. EDT it became a Category 5 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite analyzed the major hurricane’s rainfall.

The GPM core observatory satellite flew over Hurricane Matthew on Sept. 30, 2016 at 0946Z (5:46 a.m. EDT). A rainfall analysis from GPM’s Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) showed that the Matthew had heavy rainfall in the northern side of the newly formed eye wall.

GPM’s radar area of coverage included a very intense feeder band on the southeastern side of the hurricane. DPR measured rain falling at a rate of greater than 229 (9 inches) per hour in that area.

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A 3-D radar analysis using data from GPM’s DPR Ku Band showed that storm top heights in the feeder band were reaching heights above 16 km (9.9 miles).

Images of the storm in 3-D were created at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Matthew reached Category 5 hurricane status at 11 p.m. EDT on Sept. 30, and by Oct. 1 at 5 a.m. EDT, dropped to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Major hurricanes are Category 3, 4, and 5.

At 11 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Oct. 1, Matthew remained a Category 4, major hurricane as it moved through the Caribbean Sea. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Jamaica, Haiti from the southern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas.

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At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) on Oct. 1, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located near latitude 13.4 North, longitude 73.4 West.  Matthew was moving toward the west near 6 mph (9 kph).  A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast later today, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest on Sunday and toward the north on Monday, Oct.3.

On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will move across the central Caribbean Sea today and Sunday, and approach Jamaica and southwestern Haiti Sunday night and Monday.

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Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 145 mph (230 kph) with higher gusts.  Matthew is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Some fluctuations in intensity are possible this weekend, but Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Monday. The latest minimum central pressure measured by the aircraft was 947 millibars.

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The National Hurricane Center noted the effects expected by Matthew:

Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with isolated higher amounts are expected over Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao through Saturday.  Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with isolated higher amounts are expected along the coast of Colombia from the Venezuelan border to Barranquilla.

Rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches with isolated higher amounts are expected along the coast of Venezuela from Coro to the Colombian border.

Rainfall totals of 10 to 15 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches are expected across Jamaica and southern and southwestern Haiti.  This rainfall could produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

SURF:  Swells generated by Matthew are expected to affect portions of the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia, eastern Cuba, and the Caribbean coastline of Central America during the next few days.

These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

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