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Towers of heatIf there's a hurricane brewing, NASA knows about it--and has plenty to offer for weather watchers on Earth.
The space agency's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite can show hurricanes in color and three dimensions. In these two images, red indicates regions of the most significant rainfall. The spires, called "hot towers," suggest a powerful heat engine inside the storm, which signals its growth potential.
The key factor to hurricane season is the water temperature. Hurricanes cannot exist over water cooler than 82 degrees Fahrenheit. This map shows temperatures (in orange and yellow) from September 2004 in areas that proved to be a feeding ground for deadly storms including Frances and Ivan.