September 8, 2013 - Tropical Storm Toraji (15W) approaching Japan

Tropical Storm Toraji (15W) approaching Japan

On September 3, 2013 NASAís Terra satellite flew over the East China Sea, allowing the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard to capture this true-color image of Tropical Storm Toraji as the storm approached southern Japan. At this time, the storm had strong thunderstorms wrapped around the center, with bands of thunderstorms wrapping into the center from the north, which extended over Kyushu. Kyushu is the third largest island of Japan and is farthest southwest of Japanís four main islands.

At 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT) on Monday, September 2, Toraji had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph (64 km/hr), making it a minimal tropical storm. It was located about 100 miles northwest of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Toraji was generating 13-foot (3.9-meter)-high seas. That day, infrared satellite data from the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite showed strong bands of thunderstorms wrapping around the southeastern and eastern quadrant of the storm, and spinning into the low-level center of circulation.

By Monday, September 3 at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT), Toraji's maximum sustained winds increased to 57.5 mph (92.6 km/h). The strongest winds were in the northeastern quadrant of the storm. Toraji moved closer to Kyushu and was centered about 198 miles (318 km) south-southwest of Sasebo, Japan. Strong vertical wind shear was affecting the storm at that time, weakening it as it approached Japan.

Tropical Storm Toraji passed over Kyushu and transitioned into an extra-tropical storm while bringing heavy rainfall over the big island of Japan on September 4. The extra-tropical storm became a cold-core system that was being carried by a frontal system, and the remaining energy of the storm passed over Japan along with the frontal system, bringing additional rain.

While not a particularly dangerous storm, Toraji brought heavy rain to areas that had recently been flooded by Tropical Storm Kong-Rey only a week before. There were reports of flooding and mudslides in the wake of the storm, and Toraji spawned some scattered tornadoes as it crossed Japan.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 9/3/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC