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GES DISC and Goddard scientists assist Accuweather investigation of flooding in Saudi Arabia
GES DISC and Goddard scientists use TRMM near-real-time data to aid forensic meteorologists investigating flood tragedy
TRMM total accumulated rainfall from flooding rains in Jiddah
On November 24 and 25, rainstorms hit Jeddah, Mecca and the Arafah plains. These heavy rains, which were equal to two-thirds of the average annual total rainfall in this region, caused severe flooding. 24 lives were claimed, according to news reports.
Forensic meteorologists from Accuweather in Pennsylvania, who were investigating this event on behalf of a client, inquired to the GES DISC in early December about data that could assist their investigation – and they were on a tight deadline, needing the data in less than a day. Mary Greene, who ably coordinates every GES DISC User Services response to user queries, received this urgent request, and recruited assistance from GES DISC staff scientists. Zhong Liu, precipitation scientist at the DISC and George Mason University, responded quickly, working with Goddard Space Flight Center precipitation scientist George Huffman. Both Liu and Huffman are experts in the use and interpretation of data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). Liu coordinated the response, and provided Accuweather with the data they were seeking. They said, "We are so grateful, and the data that your organization provided us was invaluable to our report and to our client."
The images below illustrate the tragic November rainfall event on the coast of Saudi Arabia.
(Top) Location map of Jiddah and Saudi Arabia. (Bottom) Time-series of precipitation, showing the sudden onset of heavy rainfall.
Total accumulated rainfall as measured by TRMM for the Saudi Arabian storms, Novembver 24-25, 2009.
Animated of images from geostationary meteorological satellite of clouds associated with the strongest rainfall event which generated the floods in Jiddah.
The near-real-time TRMM multi-satellite precipitation analysis products, developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, provide a near-real-time rainfall watch around the world. The products can be easily accessed through the TRMM Online Visualization and Analysis System (TOVAS).