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NASA scientists analyze Peru's deadly precipitation

By Brooks Hays
NASA scientists analyze Peru's deadly precipitation
Satellite data show the intense rainfall that has flood northwestern Peru in the last two weeks. Photo by NASA/JAXA/Hal Pierce

March 23 (UPI) -- NASA scientists are using the latest data from Global Precipitation Measurement mission to model the storm systems responsible for dumping deadly amounts of rain on Peru during the last two weeks.

Last week, intense storms dropped record amounts of rain, triggering deadly floods that forced thousands from their homes. Another crop of storms compounded damages earlier this week. Dozens of people have been killed and thousands of properties damaged.

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The latest round of storms were imaged by GPM's core observatory satellite as it passed over Peru on March 20. The Global Precipitation Measurement mission is a joint effort between NASA and JAXA, Japan's space agency.

The satellite's Microwave Imager and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar identified heavy bands of rainfall with precipitation rates of 5.4 inches per hour. Radar readings allowed scientists to study 3D images of the storm clouds. Some storm cloud tops peaked at altitudes of 8.1 miles.

Scientists suggest the powerful storms are the result of an El Niño-like mass of warm ocean surface water off the coast of Peru. Rains are expected to continue in the coming days.

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