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Satellite animation shows Tropical Storm Andrea's towering thunderstorms

A NASA satellite's images show thunderstorm clouds nearly 9 miles high around Tropical Storm Andrea -- areas that could bring heavy downpours to some parts of Maryland on Friday.

NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (or TRMM satellite) flew above the storm Thursday, revealing a large area of moderate to heavy rainfall in the northeast quadrant of the storm as it passed over Florida, according to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Scientists at Goddard developed an animation of the satellite images, seen above.

The satellite showed what is known as convective rainfall, which can be particularly intense, on the northeast side of the storm. Convective rain occurs when heat on the Earth's surface causes rapid evaporation and leads to tall cumulonimbus clouds that can drop heavy rainfall with varying intensity.

This phenomenon could make for excessive rainfall in some areas as Andrea passes over Maryland on Friday. As the storm's remnant core passes over the Baltimore area, or just to the east of it, the convective rain could arrive, explains local meteorologist "Eric the Red". That would mean that while a steady rain is expected for most of the day, more intense periods of rain could fall in the evening.

Models were showing that area of intense rain could pass over the Interstate 95 corridor, Eric said, though some suggested it would be on the Eastern Shore.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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