A tropical cyclone (03B) with winds reported of up to 75 mph hit the east
coast of India just after midnight local time on the 16th of December 2003.
At least 11 people perished in the storm, which brought heavy rains to the
region. The cyclone formed in the southern part of the Bay of Bengal. It
then moved steadily northwestward before coming ashore at the port city of
Vishakhapatnam in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
The Tropical Rainfall
Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite obtained this image of the cyclone just as
the center was approaching the coastline. The image was taken at 12:00 UTC
on 15 December 2003. It shows the cyclone’s rainfall distribution from
above as seen by the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR) in the inner swath and
the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) in the outer swath overlaid on infrared data
from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS) in white. A localized area of
intense rain appears near the center in red. However, most of the rainfall
is moderate in intensity (green areas) with rain rates on the order of 10 to
20 mm/hr and occurs north of the center. The VIRS data reveal the storm’s
cirrus shield to be symmetrical with broad outflow, meaning that it was not
being inhibited by atmospheric wind shear.
TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency NASDA.
Image produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC).
Cyclone Nargis passed over Burma (Myanmar) after having formed in the Bay of Bengal. At one point, Nargis was a Category 4 cyclone, with sustained winds of 210 kilometers per hour (130 miles per hour). The typhoon lost strength before coming ashore on May 2 as a Category 3/4 storm, but it still carried very powerful winds and heavy rain when it struck the low-lying coastal plains, causing severe damage. News reports cited a death toll of 10,000 people, with thousands more missing, as of May 5.