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Haiyan Jiang, Jeffrey B. Halverson, and Joanne Simpson


It has been well known for years that the heavy rain and flooding of tropical cyclones over land bear a weak relationship to the maximum wind intensity. The rainfall accumulation history and rainfall potential history of two North Atlantic hurricanes during 2002 (Isidore and Lili) are examined using a multisatellite algorithm developed for use with the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) dataset. This algorithm uses many channel microwave data sources together with high-resolution infrared data from geosynchronous satellites and is called the real-time Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA-RT). MPA-RT rainfall estimates during the landfalls of these two storms are compared with the combined U.S. Next-Generation Doppler Radar (NEXRAD) and gauge dataset: the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) hourly stage IV multisensor precipitation estimate analysis. Isidore produced a much larger storm total volumetric rainfall as a greatly weakened tropical storm than did category 1 Hurricane Lili during landfall over the same area. However, Isidore had a history of producing a large amount of volumetric rain over the open gulf. Average rainfall potential during the 4 days before landfall for Isidore was over a factor of 2.5 higher than that for Lili. When using the TRMM-based MPA-RT rainfall estimate, results are consistent with a previous study, which analyzed just the infrared-based rain estimation; that is, the rain potential history could be used as a predictor for the storm’s potential for inland flooding 3–4 days in advance of landfall.

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Haiyan Jiang, Jeffrey B. Halverson, Joanne Simpson, and Edward J. Zipser


Part I of this two-part paper examined the satellite-derived rainfall accumulation and rain potential history of Hurricanes Isidore and Lili (2002). This paper (Part II) uses analyses from the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) to examine the water budget and environmental parameters and their relationship to the precipitation for these two storms. Factors other than storm size are found to account for large volumetric differences in storm total rainfall between Lili and Isidore. It is found that the horizontal moisture convergence was crucial to the initiation and maintenance of Isidore’s intense rainfall before and during its landfall. When the storm was over the ocean, the ocean moisture flux (evaporation) was the second dominant term among the moisture sources that contribute to precipitation. During Isidore’s life history, the strong horizontal moisture flux convergence corresponded to the large storm total precipitable water. The large difference in budget-derived stored cloud ice and liquid water between Isidore and Lili is corroborated from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) measurements. During Isidore’s landfall, the decrease in environmental water vapor contributed to rainfall in a very small amount. These results indicate the importance of the environmental precipitable water and moisture convergence and ocean surface moisture flux in generating Isidore’s large rainfall volume and inland flooding as compared with Lili’s water budget history. Both the moisture convergence and ocean flux were small for Lili.

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