GPM Sees Hurricane Matthew’s Life Cycle

October 19, 2016 – Heavy rainfall from a slow-moving low and frontal system moved through North Carolina during the last week of September, saturating the state. As Hurricane Matthew swept into the state, its interaction with the frontal boundary caused extreme rainfall, resulting in over 20 inches (508 mm) of rain.

As the hurricane moved up the coast, it left death and destruction in its wake. Estimates are that Hurricane Matthew caused more than $1.5 billion in damage to buildings throughout the state, and of the storm-related deaths in the U.S., more than half of the victims were from North Carolina.

Some rivers in North Carolina, such as the Tar and Neuse Rivers, are still rising and emergency officials predict that it will be at least another week before all of the state’s rivers are back below flood stage.

At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a rainfall analysis was accomplished using data from NASA’s Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG). The rainfall analysis was created using IMERG real time data covering the period from September 28 through October 10, 2016. Maximum rainfall total estimates for the real-time IMERG product have been adjusted to reflect observed values.

Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The GPM Core Satellite Microwave Imager (GMI) was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies, Corp. of Boulder, Colorado. The GPM constellation also includes the Ball Aerospace-built Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite, which launched in 2011, and will include the first Joint Polar Satellite System, currently in development at Ball.