Typhoon Xangsane (known as Milenyo in the Philippines) is bringing strong winds
and heavy rains to the central Philippines after making landfall on the central
Philippines island of Samar east of the province's capital of Catarman. The
storm was reported to have winds gusting to 150 kph (93 mph) as it made landfall.
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite has proven itself to be
a valuable tool for monitoring tropical cyclones. TRMM captured these images of
Xangsane as it developed near the Philippines.
Xangsane began as a tropical depression on the 25th of September 2006 in the
western Philippine Sea just 200 miles east of the central islands. The first
image from TRMM shows the depression as it was nearing the central Philippines.
The image was taken at 7:39 UTC 25 September 2006 and shows the horizontal
distribution of rain intensity as seen from the TRMM satellite. Rain rates in
the center swath are from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), a first-of-its-kind
space-borne precipitation radar, while rain rates in the outer swath are from
the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The rain rates are overlaid on infrared (IR)
data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS). TRMM shows that the depression
consists of a coherent area of light (blue) to moderate (green) rain. A few
isolated areas of heavy rain (shown in red) are also present. At this time,
there is little evidence of organization. The system has no eye or eyewall
and no evidence of banding (curvature) in the rain field, which would indicate
the presence of a circulation. The system did, however, become better
organized and was named Tropical Storm Xangsane about 10 hours after this image
As Xangsane headed west-northwest towards the central Philippines, initial
intensification was slow with the system remaining a tropical storm on the 26th
(local time). However, as it was nearing Samar, Xangsane began to intensify
more rapidly. The next image was taken by TRMM at 21:36 UTC 26 September as
Xangsane was bearing down on northern Samar in the central Philippines. TRMM
now reveals a very different looking system. Xangsane now has a complete eyewall
composed of moderate to heavy rain (green ring with areas of red), surrounded by
spiral rainbands. These features are consistent with the well-developed
circulation of a mature tropical cyclone.
The final TRMM image was taken at the same time as the previous image and shows
a 3D perspective of Xangsane using data collected from the TRMM PR. The higher
tops are indicated in red. Deep convective towers that are part of the eyewall
form a ring around the center. These can be a precursor to future strengthening.
Additional tall towers are associated with the outer rainbands farther away from
the center. At the time of these images, Xangsane was estimated to have sustained
winds of 65 knots (75 mph), making it a minimal Category 1 typhoon. However,
the storm was in the process of intensifying and became a Category 2 storm just
hours later with sustained winds estimated at 90 knots (104 mph) as it neared
(update september 28) TYPHOON XANGSANE ROARS THROUGH THE PHILIPPINES
Typhoon Xangsane (known as Milenyo in the Philippines) is shown heading
into the South China Sea after a devastating blow to the Philippines.
At least 61 deaths were attributed to the storm. Xangsane
temporarily weakened over the Philippines
but regained strength over the South China Sea.
The image above was made from data captured by the TRMM satellite
on 28 September at 0628 UTC.
(update October 1 ) TYPHOON XANGSANE HITS CENTRAL VIETNAM
Typhoon Xangsane hit central Vietnam on 1 October
causing flooding and widespread damage.
This image was made using
TRMM satellite data captured on 30 September at
0613 UTC when sustained wind speeds
were estimated at 115kts (133 mph).
TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.
Images produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang