MANILA - A thunderstorm in the center of Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit) is almost 15 kilometers tall.
This is just one of the discoveries made by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), which flew almost directly above the typhoon Friday while Ruby was approaching the Philippines.
The GPM's microwave imager instrument also measured rain falling at a rate of over 76 mm (almost 3 inches) per hour in the typhoon's eyewall, according to NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM).
The TRMM also said rain measured by the GMI was falling at "most extreme rate" of almost 100.9 mm (almost 4 inches) per hour in powerful storms on the southern side of Ruby's eye.
The Goddard Space Flight Center's Rob Gutro said in a report Friday that another satellite, NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite flew over the typhoon on December 5 and the VIIRS instrument showed a 12-mile (19-kilometer) wide eye.
The International Space Station's RapidScat instrument also captured data on Ruby's winds. It found sustained winds of at least 30 meters per second (108 kph) around the eye of the storm.
"Typhoon-force winds extend out 40 nautical miles (74 km) from the center, while tropical-storm-force winds extend out to 120 miles (222 km)," Gutro said.
He cited a Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) forecast that said Ruby will maintain intensity until it starts interacting with land Saturday before it will rapidly weaken.