Haiti and Dominican Republic – NASA Records 300mm of Rain in 1 Hour

Haiti and Dominican Republic have suffered several major flood events over the last few weeks. Dozens of people have died and thousands forced from their homes after a series of storms brought torrential rain across the island of Hispaniola.

According to data from Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), which is a joint mission between JAXA and NASA, powerful storms were measured dropping rain at a rate of almost 300 mm (11.8 inches) per hour on 08 May 2016.

dominican_republic
GPM’s satellite measured rainfall of 300 mm/hr over parts of Dominican Republic on 08 May 2016. Credits: NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

The GPM core observatory satellite saw a line of heavy rainfall on the eastern side of the Dominican Republic when it flew over on 08 May, 2016 at 0428 UTC. GPM’s Microwave Imager (GMI) and Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) instruments collected data that were used to estimate rainfall.

NASA said:

“Powerful storms were measured dropping rain at a rate of almost 300 mm (11.8 inches) per hour along this line of storms. GPM’s Radar (DPR Ku Band) were used to measure the 3-D structure of precipitation in this area. Some tall thunderstorms north of Puerto Rico were measured by DPR reaching heights of over 16 km (9.9 miles).”

GPM's Radar (DPR Ku Band) were used to measure the 3-D structure of precipitation in this area. Some tall thunderstorms north of Puerto Rico were measured by DPR reaching heights of over 16 km (9.9 miles). Credits: NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
Credits: NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

Data from NASA’s Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) were used to estimate the amount of rain that fell over this area during the past week (May 2-9, 2016). The heaviest rainfall was estimated by IMERG to be over 300 mm (11.8 inches) in large areas of the eastern Dominican Republic.

Data from NASA's Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) were used to estimate the amount of rain that fell over this area during the past week (May 2-9, 2016). The heaviest rainfall was estimated by IMERG to be over 300 mm (11.8 inches) in large areas of the eastern Dominican Republic. Credits: NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce
Credits: NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

Drought conditions throughout 2015 and the early part of 2016 threatened food security for thousands in Haiti and Dominican Republic. According to the latest bulletin of the National Food Security Coordination (CNSA), from July to December 2015, agricultural production dropped by 50 percent.

However, according to GPM, during the week beginning 02 May, 2016, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have almost erased the deficit of water with vast flooding.

Flood Summary

Last updated: July 22, 2016
Event
Haiti and Dominican Republic, May 2016
Date
April 30 to May 11, 2016
Type
Inland flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
At least 5 people have died in Haiti, over 3,000 people have been displaced in the Dominican Republic. This is the second spate of flooding to hit the two countries within 2 weeks.

Locations

A - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Dominican Republic)
B - Nippes, Haiti (Haiti)
C - Centre Department, Haiti (Haiti)

Magnitude

Rainfall level
300 mm in 24 hours
Dominican Republic - May 7 to May 8, 2016
NASA reported that 300mm of rain fell in just 1 hour.

Damages

Fatalities
5 people
Haiti - April 30 to May 2, 2016
Buildings damaged
675 buildings
Dominican Republic - May 2 to May 8, 2016
Evacuated
3,430
Dominican Republic - May 2 to May 8, 2016