Global Precipitation Measurement mission tallies up huge rainfall totals for hurricane #Matthew

A NASA rainfall analysis estimated the amount of rainfall generated by Hurricane Matthew when it moved over the Carolinas.

This image shows the amount of rainfall dropped by Hurricane Matthew over the life and track of the storm. IMERG real time data covering the period from Sept. 28 through Oct. 10, 2016 show rainfall from Hurricane Matthew before and after its interaction with a frontal boundary. Matthew caused extreme rainfall in North Carolina resulting in over 20 inches (508 mm) of rain. Credits: NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce
This image shows the amount of rainfall dropped by Hurricane Matthew over the life and track of the storm. IMERG real time data covering the period from Sept. 28 through Oct. 10, 2016 show rainfall from Hurricane Matthew before and after its interaction with a frontal boundary. Matthew caused extreme rainfall in North Carolina resulting in over 20 inches (508 mm) of rain. Credits: NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce

Hurricane Matthew dropped a lot of rain, caused flooding and deaths in the state of North Carolina. Flooding is still widespread in North Carolina.  Some rivers in North Carolina such as the Tar and the Neuse Rivers were still rising on Oct. 12.

At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland a rainfall analysis was accomplished using data from NASA’s Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG). The GPM or Global Precipitation Measurement mission is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

This animation shows the amount of rainfall dropped by Hurricane Matthew over the life and track of the storm/ IMERG real time data covering the period from Sept. 28 through Oct. 10, 2016 show rainfall from Hurricane Matthew before and after its interaction with a frontal boundary. Matthew caused extreme rainfall in North Carolina resulting in over 20 inches (508 mm) of rain.
Credits: NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce

The Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) is a unified U.S. algorithm that provides a multi-satellite precipitation product. IMERG is run twice in near-real time with the “Early” multi-satellite product being created at about 4 hours after observation time and a “Late” multi-satellite product provided at about 12 hours after observation time.

This rainfall analysis was created using IMERG real time data covering the period from Sept. 28 through Oct. 10, 2016. The totals included some rain from a low pressure area that moved through the area near the end of September.

Hurricane Matthew’s interaction with a frontal boundary caused extreme rainfall in North Carolina resulting in over 20 inches (508 mm) of rain being reported in North Carolina. The area was already saturated before Hurricane Matthew arrived. Heavy rainfall from a slow moving low and frontal system moved through during the last week of September. Maximum rainfall total estimates for the real-time IMERG product have been adjusted to reflect observed values.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12 the National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington, North Carolina (NC) reported “All major area rivers will remain above flood stage throughout this upcoming week. At 10:59 a.m. EDT on Oct. 12, the North Carolina Department of Transportation reported numerous flooded roads persisting across much the coastal plain of North Carolina. This being the result of heavy rainfall totaling 5 to 12 inches across the region in the last 36 hours. Many roads are impassable, barricaded or washed away. Some neighborhoods are cut off. Swamps, creeks and rivers are still rising flooding even more areas and slowing the recession of high water. People in the warned area should not travel and be prepared for widespread flooding of a magnitude not seen in many years. If asked to evacuate please do so.”

In this animation Hurricane Matthew travels up the east coast from Florida to the Carolinas. On October 8, 2016 Matthew (still a category 2 hurricane) dumps massive amounts of rain throughout the southeast dousing North and South Carolina. GPM then flies over the area revealing precipitation rates on the ground. As we zoom in closer, GPM’s DPR sensor reveals a curtain of 3D rain rates within the massive weather system. To download:
Credits: NASA SVS

Further south, a Flood Warning has been extended for the following rivers: Cape Fear at Elizabethtown affecting Bladen County NC; Cape Fear at Lock and Dam 1 affecting Bladen County NC; Black Creek at Quinby affecting Darlington and Florence Counties South Carolina (SC); Lynches at Effingham affecting Florence County SC.

In addition, a Flood Warning continues for the following rivers: Cape Fear at William O. Huske Lock and Dam 3 affecting Bladen County NC; Northeast Cape Fear near Burgaw affecting Pender County NC; Lumber Near Lumberton affecting Robeson County NC;  Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry affecting Dillon, Horry and Marion Counties,  SC;  Waccamaw at Conway affecting Horry County SC;  Great Pee Dee at Pee Dee affecting Marion and Florence Counties SC; and Black at Kingstree affecting Williamsburg County SC.

For updated River Forecasts from the NWS, visit:

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Tom Halla
October 14, 2016 4:58 pm

Flooding from Matthew, but not very much wind damage or storm surge apparently. The greens are still anticipating a disastrous hurricane.

Reply to  Tom Halla
October 14, 2016 5:09 pm

Correct. Mostly a rain event, as Matthew’s front-right quadrant stayed out to sea.

Reply to  Gamecock
October 15, 2016 3:58 am

Just like Irene.

george e. smith
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 14, 2016 5:19 pm

That is some really weird target spotting. Who knew something so widespread could just hit here and there like that map suggests.

Reply to  george e. smith
October 15, 2016 8:37 am

The key concentrating events were lifting by the mountains of Hispanola and a cold front cutting through North Carolina.
Slow moving tropical cyclones and nor’easters are the most destructive events we have along the east coast thanks to all the precip and flooding they can bring.

Reply to  george e. smith
October 15, 2016 10:20 am

Don’t know to blame the climate, semi-persistent weather patterns or just plain luck but in the late 80’s we took some serious nor’easters in FL. Quite a bit of beach erosion; Since then nothing. Maybe CO2 decreases nor’easters Yes, there’s a /sarc on the last sentence

Dr. Bob
October 14, 2016 5:46 pm

From this analysis one should be able to calculate the amount of energy dissipated by the hurricane during its lifespan. This would be an interesting number to know to show how hurricanes reduce the energy content of the earth through natural processes.
One could express this value in terms of Hiroshima-yield nuclear devices for example. That is a number that a few of our friends would understand.

Ian W
Reply to  Dr. Bob
October 14, 2016 6:09 pm

The calculations are already out there see

Method 1) – Total energy released through cloud/rain formation:
An average hurricane produces 1.5 cm/day (0.6 inches/day) of rain inside a circle of radius 665 km (360 n.mi) (Gray 1981). (More rain falls in the inner portion of hurricane around the eyewall, less in the outer rainbands.) Converting this to a volume of rain gives 2.1 x 1016 cm3/day. A cubic cm of rain weighs 1 gm. Using the latent heat of condensation, this amount of rain produced gives
5.2 x 1019 Joules/day or 6.0 x 1014 Watts.
This is equivalent to 200 times the world-wide electrical generating capacity – an incredible amount of energy produced!

In a day a hurricane releases energy equivalent to 200 times the worldwide energy generation capacity!
To that should be added the energy from Method 2.
So much for the hubris of humans.

Reply to  Ian W
October 14, 2016 7:49 pm

How do you create widespread and massive flooding with 1.5 cm/day ?

Ian W
Reply to  Ian W
October 15, 2016 5:59 am

Greg – that is the average within the 360 nautical mile radius. You have obviously not watched a hurricane or you would know that the rain actually runs in belts around the hurricane sometimes with extreme rates of rainfall of 6 inches an hour ( ).

Reply to  Ian W
October 15, 2016 8:24 am

Also, that 1.5 cm/day is what evaporates during the storm’s life. By the time Matthew reached NC, it had accumulated a huge supply of water vapor that a little lifting from the cold front converted back to water in a relatively small area.

Reply to  Ian W
October 15, 2016 1:28 pm

Ian W
We all agree that hurricanes [typhoons, etc.] are hugely impressive, and should be avoided if possible.
I think, but am open to correction, that ‘from your numbers’, a hurricane is chewing through energy at two hundred times the rate of human energy production from ?? electricity??.

Reply to  Ian W
October 15, 2016 9:44 pm

Now this is twice the energy imbalance supposedly caused by global warming over the entire earths surface. Ie 5.1e14 × 0.6 × 3600 × 24=2.6e19 Joules per day. So every day Matthew was running it reduced the earths thermal energy by 2.5e10 Joules, an amount almost equal to all GW over the entire earth, just ONE category 3 (on average) storm, and there was more than one storm active.
This of course only accounts for the evaporation.

Killer Marmot
October 14, 2016 5:54 pm

I think it was four goals. That was the tally.
Oh, Matthew. I thought you said Matthews.

October 14, 2016 6:23 pm

I remember in the mid 1950’s that the Delaware River had record floods. I recall that the upper Delaware River had 8″ of rain. Evidently it was worse than that:
Record flooding on the Delaware River occurred in August 1955, in the aftermath of two separate hurricanes traversing the area within less than a week. First, Hurricane Connie produced 10 inches of rain in 48 hours, putting the Delaware and surrounding rivers at flood stage. Hurricane Diane, which remains the wettest tropical cyclone to have hit the northeastern US, added another 10 inches of rain less than a week later. Extensive property damage and loss of life ensued. The National Weather Service has estimated repetition of this record flood event would cause $2.8 billion in damages in the Delaware River Basin in today’s dollars. Although flooding of this scope and magnitude is rare, damage and loss of life have occurred from more localized flooding during lesser events.”

Joel O’Bryan
October 14, 2016 7:29 pm

We are at the 11 yr climate transition pt where:
1. hurricane activity will return to more historic levels (up unfortunately),
2. Arctic Ice will move back to +/-1 SD of historical values,
3. Rain will return to historic norms in California,
4. Cold winters will be expected,
Yet climatists and the climate change faithful will demand more of your money and liberties to combat a mythical problem.
Why do I say we are at a transition pt?
Page 39
“The next climate reversal from drought to flood conditions based on the analysis of historical data is only expect- ed to occur in 2016. This confirms the link- age with the double sunspot cycle.”
While they use terms unfamaliar to astronomers and solar physicists, since they are civil engineers mostly, what they refer to are changes in planetary and solar orbital velocities about the solar system barycenter (their solar system Center mass).
Indeed, even now, NASA is finally admitting these momentum changes among the planets as angular momentum in the solar system is exchanged and conserved. They now expect a Mar’s planetwide dust storm in the next 4 months due to Mar’s orbital momentum change.
How long will it be until NASA admits Earthly global circulations and oceanic cycles that change climate also respond to momentum changes not described in GCMs?

Joel O’Bryan
October 14, 2016 7:40 pm

Be careful what you pray for:
The 3 yr Palmer Drought Index for September 2013 – August 2016.

October 14, 2016 7:57 pm

Matthew caused heavy rain in the Atlantic Canada. link
People with houses on floodplains suffered. Apparently overland flooding is uninsurable. Many people were left without electricity.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  commieBob
October 14, 2016 8:23 pm

Yeah, I’ve been there flooded basement, ripped up roof, downed trees, destroyed fence, no power for days, 4 times in my adult life. It really really sucks. I live in the desert SW now because of those life experiences and what they taught me.
But in the final analysis, was that flooding in Canada because CO2 is now at 402 ppm?
The Charlatans, those who want your money and your liberties, want you (people in general) to buy into their religous fairy tale. It has always been that way for at least 10,000 yrs of social humanity. Don’t expect that to stop just because today we have smartphones, indoor plumbing, and industrial agriculture to feed us.

Reply to  commieBob
October 15, 2016 6:12 am

Flooding on flood plains? That’s outrageous. It’s an obvious sign of global warming!
/sarc, just in case…

October 14, 2016 10:51 pm

Central Europe got half its annual rainfall in a couple of days, and the rain fell on drought-parched ground which couldn’t take it up. The result was the greatest and most calamitous of all floods, storm surges aside. This is the good news for climate warriors.
The bad news for climate warriors is that the Magdalene Flood happened in 1342. (The horrific storm surge of the Grote Mandrenke occurred twenty years later. Bugger of century, that 14th.)
I should add that my region of coastal NSW copped half its (abundant) annual rainfall in less than 48 hours…in 1963!
NASA needs to be careful of dramatising and Franken-boosting even when telling the truth. It makes us think that NASA would rather not be confined to the truth. And NASA doesn’t need any more doubters and skeptics, right?

Reply to  mosomoso
October 15, 2016 3:43 am

President Dwight D. Eisenhower established NASA in 1958[7] with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. link

The only thing NASA should have to do with climate studies is remote sensing satellites.
Weather and climate belong to NOAA.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA; pronounced /ˈnoʊ.ə/, like “Noah”) is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere.

The majority of the climate expertise is in NOAA not in NASA. The majority of the alarmism seems to come from NASA. The congresscritters should smack NASA upside the head and tell it to stick to its knitting.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  commieBob
October 15, 2016 4:36 am

Disestablish NASA, an obsolete boondoggle political football of the (((NFL))). Alternative Right.
We lost the Waxahatchie Super Conducting Super Collider to pay for the Space Scuttle and ISS-1 (((Blackhole))).

Richard Keen
October 14, 2016 11:14 pm

In 1955, three hurricanes – Connie, Diane, and Ione – in August and September dropped 50.26 inches of rain on Maysville, NC.

October 14, 2016 11:23 pm

“Matthew caused extreme rainfall in North Carolina resulting in over 20 inches (508 mm) of rain.”
In terms totals, I wonder much much rain in terms of cubic km of water [or a billion tonnes/cubic meters].
Or 20 inches roughly 1/2 meter. North Carolina is 139,390 square km.
or 139,390 / 2000 is 69.69 cubic km [or billion tonnes].
In comparison to total amount water drawn from river and lakes in US in year. So:
“Overall, the world is using 9,087 billion cubic meters of water per year. China, India and the U.S. consumed the highest annual totals: 1,207 billion, 1,182 billion and 1,053 billion cubic meters, respectively, followed by Brazil at 482 billion. ”
So 1,053 / 69.69 is 15. So 1/15th of total water used by US in year, fell on North Carolina in period of about 2 weeks.
How much in total did Matthew create in in term of it’s rain over all the US land area? And how does this compare to other Tropical storms?

Richard G
October 15, 2016 12:26 am

The NWS reports max 18.3″ of rain in North Carolina for the last 10 days. For the same period in Washington State it was 18″. For California they are forecasting 17.8″ over 5 days. I don’t see anything unusual in those numbers. Into everyone’s life, a little rain must fall. Scouts motto, be prepared.

Richard G
Reply to  Richard G
October 19, 2016 9:48 pm

California maxed out at 25″ over the 5 days instead of the 17.8″ forecast. October is usually light for precipitation, so that’s a good start to the new season.

October 15, 2016 1:09 am

“While the timing, extent and magnitude of the cold air is uncertain at this point, enough cold air is possible allow the first snow showers of the season around the Great Lakes and perhaps into the central and northern Appalachians,” Pastelok said.

October 15, 2016 1:55 am

OT but please join in mourning for the demise of The Great Barrier Reef
Of course the denialist bastions of Huffington Post and The Guardian won’t accept the truth provided by Rowan Jacobsen

Reply to  Analitik
October 15, 2016 3:07 am

The Guardian report this under the by-line:

Reports the famed 1,400-mile network of reefs ‘passed away in 2016 after a long illness’ are greatly exaggerated despite mass bleaching, scientists say

What is wrong with that? They report it. They don’t dismiss it. Where does the “won’t accept the truth ” claim come in?

Reply to  GregG
October 15, 2016 5:19 am

I really did not think a /sarc was necessary but if you insist…

October 15, 2016 4:09 am

Could this tool be used to release insurance money that’s locked away back into the economy ?

Doug Huffman
October 15, 2016 4:33 am

I have a Sixties vintage p-book CRC HCP that reports the typical mass of a thunderstorm. It is extreme enough that I remember it all these years later, and wonder at its energy equivalence.

October 15, 2016 10:51 am

Would the lack of huricane strikes and related precipitation be a factor in this alleged sea level rise in Miami that we always hear about. Specifically a lack of water from huricanes as there are fewer causing the land in some areas to subside? Anyhow just pondering and not sure there is in fact a rise in Miami.

Reply to  LexingtonGreen
October 15, 2016 3:50 pm

A) Miami is on low ground, floods easily and frequently.
B) Land subsidence is land, not sea. It might make the sea level seem lower or higher; but it has zero effect on actual sea level.
C) Sea levels have been maintaining a very slow somewhat steady rate of rise.
– – a) Since the end of the last maximum glacial advance
– – b) Since the end of the last Dryas cooling.
– – c) Since the Little Ice Age (LIA) a couple of centuries ago.
D) Rain based floods are separate from tidal floods, tsunami and storm surges.
Even with all of the water holding power of hurricanes, they are but drops in the ocean. Beginning with the fact that the hurricanes picked up the water vapor from the ocean to begin with. A hurricane putting the water back into the ocean is a net zero sum; the hurricane only borrowed the water temporarily.

Reply to  LexingtonGreen
October 16, 2016 1:40 am

” this alleged sea level rise in Miami that we always hear about”
All of the southeastern US south of about Cape Cod is subsiding slowly. This is mostly an after-effect of the last ice-age. The area around Hudson bay was depressed several thousand feet by the ice and the area outside the ice-edge instead rose as a “fore-bulge”. Now the material is slowly flowing back, Hudson Bay and environs is rising and the Fore-bulge is subsiding.
Down in the Gulf another effect cuts in. All those rocks eroded from the Rocky Mountains ends up in the Gulf and the Mississippi delta, and their weight presses down the whole area.
If you know about coastal morphology a quick look at the map is enough. A “ria coast” with barrier islands, big lagoons and flooded river valleys (“rias”) is a sign of subsidence, while a finely convoluted rocky coast with lots of small skerries and inlets (like in Nova Scotia or Maine) has recently come up from underwater and hasn’t had time to accumulate much fine materials.

October 15, 2016 11:09 am

Be very afraid – I heard an “expert” pontificating on the radio yesterday, stating that the hurricane categories don’t really reflect how strong the storm is, and that “we have to include the water – wind isn’t enough”. I think he was talking about modifying the existing scale to include measures of rainfall and storm surge. So, watch out for a crash program at the NWS to update the hurricane categories. Maybe even an executive order before January 20th.

October 15, 2016 12:26 pm

…articles on this website about Hurricane Matthew.

Reply to  bazzer1959
October 15, 2016 3:51 pm

And we enjoyed every one!
Every posting had plenty of visits and a multitude of comments.
And, not a drop of it can be blamed on CO2!

Reply to  ATheoK
October 16, 2016 4:56 am

And every one adds to the hype surrounding this very ordinary hurricane. The very next article after this one is about DE-hyping a typhoon that has winds equal to and in excess of Hurricane Matthew. Go figure. My criticism is that this very ordinary hurricane doesn’t warrant 17 articles, as it just adds to the broohaha about a very ordinary weather event. This is the very website that usually has a go at the media for banging on about weather events. Do you see? Are we to see 17 articles about every hurricane now?

Reply to  ATheoK
October 17, 2016 4:17 pm

There is very little hype here on WUWT regarding hurricane Matthew.
The first major hurricane in eleven years threatening the USA is worth quite a bit of discussion.
For every hint of hype, there are several folks pointing out the facts.
Along with frequent visits from real experts giving us looks at the best science..

Svend Ferdinandsen
October 15, 2016 5:10 pm

Think of how much power or energy that was released to the space by that storm.
Rain of 1mm/day equals something like 15W/m2 radiated out to space.
That explains why storms only last for a short time. They loose their energy.

October 15, 2016 6:32 pm

“The Bureau predicts between 30-50mm of rain but noted the variability of the predictions.
Bureau Senior Forecaster Matt Collopy said the only constant of this year’s storms was the unpredictability of the weather fronts.”
But no matter there is 97% consensus among publicly funded climatologists as to what is going to happen..oh never mind…

October 16, 2016 1:29 am

Actually that video is a beautiful illustration of orographic precipitation. The first concentration comes over the mountains of St Lucia, then one over the La Selle Mountains of Haiti, a third over the eastern tip of Sierra Maestra and finally the big one all along the Appalachians.
The only exception is the blob off Venezuela which was caused by the hurricane stopping and being almost stationary for a while.

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