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NASA eyes rainfall in newly formed Tropical Cyclone Pam

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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IMAGE: GPM identified heavy rainfall in excess of 1.4 inches per hour in a fragmented bands of thunderstorms north of Tropical Cyclone Pam's center on March 9 at 05:01 UTC (1:01... view more

Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Tropical Cyclone Pam formed in the Solomon Islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean early on March 9. The Global Precipitation Measurement or GPM core satellite flew overhead and found some heavy rain occurring when it measured rainfall rates within the intensifying storm.

On March 9, a tropical cyclone watch was in effect for all of the Solomon Islands.

GPM is managed by both NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. From its orbit in space, the GPM satellite has the ability to measure the rates in which rain is falling in storms. GPM passed over newborn Tropical Cyclone Pam on March 9 at 05:01 UTC (1:01 a.m. EST). GPM identified heavy rainfall in excess of 1.4 inches (35.5 mm) per hour in a fragmented bands of thunderstorms north of Pam's center of circulation.

At 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EST) on March 9, Tropical Cyclone Pam's maximum sustained winds were near 45 knots (51.7 mph/83.3 kph). Pam was moving to the southeast at 3 knots (3.4 mph/5.5 kph). It was centered near 8.5 south latitude and 169.8 east longitude, about 760 nautical miles (874.6 miles/1,408 km) northwest of Nadi, Fiji.

Pam is forecast to move southeast and south while intensifying to hurricane-strength over the next couple of days. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted that rapid intensification is a possibility by Thursday, March 12. The JTWC forecast takes Pam between the island of Fiji and New Caledonia over the next four days.

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