As the death toll from Tropical Storm Ketsana continued to climb, residents of the Philippines braced for Typhoon Parma, which continued its westward path across the Pacific Ocean on October 1, 2009. The same day, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image. Coastlines of the Philippines appear in black, and storm clouds hide the satellite’s view of most of the land areas. Clouds actually fill most of this image, with the eye of the storm appearing in the right half of the picture and long arms extending westward over land.
According to Reuters, early in the day on October 1, the Philippines’ chief weather forecaster characterized Parma as a Category 4 typhoon with wind speeds of 95 knots (175 kilometers per hour), and the storm was predicted to possibly become a Category 5 typhoon by October 3. According to a report from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center several hours later (15:00 UTC, 11:00 p.m. Manila time), the storm had encountered dry air associated with an upper-level anticyclone and had weakened somewhat. At the time of that bulletin, however, Typhoon Parma remained a powerful storm, with wind speeds of 120 knots (220 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 145 knots (270 kilometers per hour).
The high-resolution image provided above is at MODIS’ full spatial resolution (level of detail) of 250 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image at additional resolutions.
- Joint Typhoon Warning Center. (2009, October 1). Typhoon 19W (Parma) Warning. U.S. Naval Marine Forecast Center. Accessed October 1, 2009.
- Reuters. (2009, October 1). Philippines raises alert for new super typhoon. Accessed October 1, 2009.
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.
- Terra - MODIS