Coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh which bore the brunt of cyclone Laila received an average of about two inches of rainfall per hour, according to data collected by a NASA satellite.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite which flew over the cyclone yesterday showed that the heaviest rainfall was received just south-east of the centre of circulation and along the coast.

The centre of the storm was close to the town of Bapatla, one of the historical towns and mandals of Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh located 40 miles south of Guntur city, the TRMM images showed.

It also recorded that the maximum sustained winds in the region was about 50 knots, or 57 miles per hour at 5 a.m.

The TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) designed to monitor and study tropical rainfall.

It not only measures rainfall intensity from space but can also give scientists an idea about the height of a thunderstorm that is generating the rainfall within the tropical cyclone. Tropical cyclones are made up of hundreds of thunderstorms.

Rain rates are calculated from different instruments onboard the satellite such as TRMM Precipitation Radar, the only space borne radar of its kind, and TRMM Microwave Imager.

The rain rates are then overlaid on infrared data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner to create the entire image.

The final images are created at NASA?s Goddard Space Flight Centre, in Greenbelt Maryland.

According to the satellite data, Laila was moving north-north-westward at 10 knots, or 12 miles per hour.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre noted that as Laila "follows this path it will encounter the rugged terrain of north-eastern Andhra Pradesh and weaken."

"However, a formidable remnant low is expected to re-emerge over the northern Bay of Bengal after 72 hours and accelerate east-north-eastward toward eventual landfall over or near south-eastern Bangladesh," the US Navy's warning centre said.

The Centre also warned that residents along coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in other areas in Laila's path can expect widespread heavy rainfall and gusty winds. Seas will also be rough, and fishermen were advised by the India Meteorological Department to stay out of the ocean.

At least 17 people were killed and three others were missing as the cyclone left a trail of devastation in coastal areas of the state damaging road networks and destroying crops.