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Cyclone Nargis

Cyclone Nargis

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), according to Unisys Weather. 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.

This visualization shows data collected by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite on May 3, 2008, at 7:13 a.m. local time (00:43 UTC). Rain rates in the center of the swath are from the TRMM Precipitation Radar, and those in the outer swath come from the TRMM Microwave Imager. The rain rates are overlaid on infrared data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner. Reds in this visualization show areas that received intense rainfall, with yellow and green showing strong rain, and lighter rainfall in blue. At the time TRMM flew over the storm, Nargis had weakened minimal cyclone status, with wind speeds of approximately 130 kilometers per hour (80 miles per hour).

The TRMM satellite was placed into service in November 1997. From its low-earth orbit, TRMM provides valuable images and information on storm systems around the tropics using a combination of passive microwave and active radar sensors, including the first precipitation radar in space. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency, JAXA.

NASA image produced by Hal Pierce. Caption by Hal Pierce and Jesse Allen.