Japan braces for Typhoon Lionrock - Japan braces for Typhoon Lionrock

Japan braces for Typhoon Lionrock. On August 23, 2016, NASA’s Terra satellite flew over Tropical Storm Lionrock as it spun in the ocean off of Japan, allowing the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying aboard to capture a stunning true-color image of the storm.

At the time this image was captured, Lionrock was strengthening and consolidating as convective bands began to wrap more tightly into the distinct, cloud-filled center of circulation. The system appeared to be elongated on the northeast to southwest axis, evidence of less-than-ideal conditions for storm development. Rain bands on the northwestern quadrant approached the Japanese island of Honshu.

At 2100 UTC on August 23 (5:00 p.m. EDT) – not quite twelve hours after this image was captured – the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JWTC) reported that maximum sustained winds were at roughly 75 mph (120 km/h), making Lionrock the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale. At that time the storm was located near 25.8 N 133.1E, or approximately 342 mi (550 km) east of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan and was tracking southwestward.

The GPM core observatory satellite passed over typhoon Lionrock twice in two days. On Aug. 23 at 2:11 p.m. EDT (1811 UTC) GPM saw Lionrock when it was first classified as a typhoon. At that time, Lionrock had winds of about 75 mph (65 knots). GPM’s Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) instrument sliced through the western edge of the typhoon’s eye. Rainfall was measured at a rate of over 222 mm (8.8 inches) per hour in intense storms on that side of the eye wall.

Lionrock was a much more powerful typhoon with winds of about 115 mph (100 knots) when the GPM satellite flew over again on August 24, 2016 at 3:31 a.m. EDT (0731 UTC). This made it a category three on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. GPM’s Microwave Imager (GMI) showed an area of very heavy precipitation occurring just southeast of the powerful typhoon’s eye and intense rainfall within bands of thunderstorms feeding into the center of circulation.

GPM’s Radar (DPR Ku Band) sliced through Lionrock and those data were used to show a 3-D cutaway view of precipitation structure within the typhoon. DPR showed that some of the tall thunderstorm towers in Lionrock’s eye wall reached heights almost 17 km (10.5 miles).GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) on Aug. 25 Typhoon Lionrock was centered near 23.7 degrees north latitude and 131.1 degrees east longitude, about 246 nautical miles southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Lionrock has tracked northeastward at 3.4 mph (3 knots/5.5 kph). Maximum sustained winds were near 126.6 mph (110 knots/203.7 kph).

Typhoon Lionrock is expected to continue tracking to the northeast and maintain typhoon strength as it heads toward Honshu, Japan’s main island by Aug. 29 and Aug. 30.


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