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Satellite reveals views of Texas tornadoes

April 5, 2012 at 6:39 PM   |   Comments

GREENBELT, Md., April 5 (UPI) -- Images from a NASA satellite show tornadoes that hit Dallas Tuesday were spawned by giant thunderstorms more than 8 miles high, the space agency said.

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite provided a look at the thunderstorms in three dimensions, giving scientists data on the heights of the thunderclouds and the rainfall rates coming from them, the agency said in releasing the images Thursday.

The satellite's precipitation radar gathered data above northeast Texas on the intensity and vertical distribution of rainfall.

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center received 18 reports of tornadoes occurring Tuesday, with some of the initiating storm dropping softball-sized hail as they passed to the south of the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Satellite tracking showed the line of tornado-spawning thunderstorms extending from Arkansas through central Texas, with heavy rain falling along the line at more than 2 inches per hour.

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