Long-track Tornado over southwestern Manitoba

July 27th, 2015

Color-enhanced Infrared (10.7 µm) imagery from GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right), times as indicated  [click to play animation]

Color-enhanced Infrared (10.7 µm) imagery from GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right), times as indicated [click to play animation]

A strong tornado (rated a high-end EF-2) touched down near Pierson, Manitoba at around 0130 UTC on 28 July or 8:30 pm local time on 27 July (Press Report) and persisted until about 0355 UTC or 10:55 pm local time (near Virden Manitoba). The animation above shows GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) Infrared imagery from 0000 UTC through 0430 UTC. The strong storm lifting northward over southwestern Manitoba is apparent, with an enhanced-V signature especially noticeable in the GOES-13 imagery.

A closer view of the tornadic supercell is shown below, with overlays of surface reports (metric units). The pulsing nature of the overshooting tops is evident in the fluctuation of the coldest cloud-top IR brightness temperatures (the coldest of which was -69º C, darker black color enhancement, on the 0300 UTC GOES-15 and 0315 UTC GOES-13 images). There are different apparent positions of the storms based on the satellite that views them because of parallax shifts. Such shifts are especially pronounced at higher latitudes with very tall storms.

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) 10.7 µm Infrared images, with surface reports [click to play animation]

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) 10.7 µm Infrared images, with surface reports [click to play animation]

A 1-km resolution Terra MODIS 11.0 µm Infrared image at 0331 UTC is shown below; the minimum cloud-top IR brightness temperature was -73º C.

Terra MODIS 11.0 µm Infrared image [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS 11.0 µm Infrared image [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) imagery, times as indicated  [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) imagery, times as indicated [click to play animation]

Visible imagery from GOES-13 (above) and GOES-15 (below) showed the overshooting tops associated with the tornadic thunderstorm, as well as the rapidly expanding cirrus shield.

GOES-15 Visible (0.62 µm) imagery, times as indicated  [click to play animation]

GOES-15 Visible (0.62 µm) imagery, times as indicated [click to play animation]

A closer view of the tornadic supercell from GOES-15 vs GOES-13 is shown below, with overlays of surface reports (metric units). The overshooting tops are again apparent on the images, along with an above-anvil plume (which is easier seen on the GOES-13 images, due to a more favorable forward-scattering viewing geometry). The robust convective development was first seen on the 2030 UTC images, in the vicinity of the Saskatchewan/Manitoba/North Dakota border region.

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) 0.63 µm visible channel images, with surface reports [click to play animation]

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) 0.63 µm visible channel images, with surface reports [click to play animation]

As an area of low pressure was deepening over eastern Montana, warm and humid air was surging northward into far southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba (surface analyses). GOES sounder derived product images (available from this site) of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE), Lifted Index, and Total Precipitable Water (below) showed that the environment across southern Manitoba was becoming increasingly unstable and moist leading up to the time of convective initiation.

GOES sounder CAPE derived product images [click to play animation]

GOES sounder CAPE derived product images [click to play animation]

GOES sounder Lifted Index derived product images [click to play animation]

GOES sounder Lifted Index derived product images [click to play animation]

GOES sounder Total Precipitable Water derived product images [click to play animation]

GOES sounder Total Precipitable Water derived product images [click to play animation]

Wildfires continue in the interior of Alaska

July 25th, 2015

GOES-15 visible (top) and shortwave IR (bottom) images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 visible (top) and shortwave IR (bottom) images [click to play animation]

Wildfires continued to burn across parts of the interior of Alaska during the 22-25 July 2015 period, as is shown in GOES-15 (GOES-West) 0.63 µm visible channel and 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (above; click to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file). Also of interest is: (1) the diurnal change of intensity and areal coverage of the fire hot spots (darker black to red pixels on the shortwave IR images), with the fires dying down at night, and (2) the change in direction of smoke transport, from westward on 22 July to eastward on 24 July. The switch in smoke transport direction was the result of changing winds associated with a broad area of low pressure moving across Alaska during that period (surface analyses).

A more detailed view of the fire hot spots was provided by 375-meter resolution (mapped onto a 1-km AWIPS grid) Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR images (below; click to play animation).

Suomi NPP VIIRS shortwave IR images [click to play animation]

Suomi NPP VIIRS shortwave IR images [click to play animation]

Many of the fires were burning in the general vicinity of the Utopia Creek, Indian Mountain airport (station identifier PAIM); a time series of surface observation from that site (below) showed that visibility was 1 mile or less due to smoke at times on 25 July.

Time series of surface observation from Utopia Creek, Indian Mountain airport [click to enlarge]

Time series of surface observation from Utopia Creek, Indian Mountain airport [click to enlarge]

Daily composites of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images viewed using the SSEC RealEarth web map server are shown below.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images [click to enlarge]

Strong July storm “Zeljko” affects parts of central Europe

July 25th, 2015

Meteosat-10 6.25  µm water vapor channel images [click to play animation]

Meteosat-10 6.25 µm water vapor channel images [click to play animation]

EUMETSAT Meteosat-10 6.25 µm water vapor channel images (above; click image to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file) showed the well-defined circulation associated with an unusually strong (for July) storm centered just north of the Netherlands on 25 July 2015. Some locations experienced hurricane-force surface winds with this storm — which was given the name “Zeljko” by the Free University of Berlin (surface analyses) — and it was described as the most violent July storm on record for the Netherlands, where a wind gust of 121 km/hour (65 knots, or 75 mph) was reported. Peak wind gusts at major airports are plotted on the water vapor imagery above, which showed 55 knots or 63 mph at Amsterdam in the Netherlands at 13 UTC, and 47 knots or 54 mph at Münster-Osnabrück in northern Germany at 17 UTC. Strong winds disrupted both rail and air traffic in some areas; the winds made for some challenging landings at the Amsterdam Schiphol airport (one of which was documented in this YouTube video).

Meteosat-10 0.8 µm High Resolution Visible images (below; click image to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file) displayed better detail of the center of the storm circulation when it was immediate off the coast of the Netherlands during the middle of the day.

Meteosat-10 0.8 µm visible channel images [click to play animation]

Meteosat-10 0.8 µm visible channel images [click to play animation]

A Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image visualized using the SSEC RealEarth web map server (below)  showed the center of the strong mid-latitude cyclone just off the coast of the Netherlands; at the time, winds were gusting to 50 knots at the Amsterdam Schiphol airport.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image, with METAR surface reports

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image, with METAR surface reports

Reynolds Creek Fire in Glacier National Park, Montana

July 23rd, 2015

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) visible and shorwave IR images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 (left) and GOES-13 (right) visible and shorwave IR images [click to play animation]

Shown above (click image to play animation; also available as an MP4 movie file) is a 4-panel comparison of GOES-15 (GOES-West, left panels) and GOES-13 (GOES-East, right panels) 0.63 µm visible channel images (top) and 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (bottom) which showed the development of the the long smoke plume and the fire hot spot (dark black to red shortwave IR pixels)  associated with the Reynolds Creek Fire (InciWeb | Wildfire Today) which began to burn in the eastern portion of the Glacier National Park in Montana around 2145 UTC or 3:43 pm local time on 21 July 2015. A Red Flag Warning was in effect for the region, due to the combination of warm temperature with low relative humidity, and strong southwesterly winds (gusting to 30 mph at Cut Bank and 29 mph at Browning).

Another sequence of GOES-15 visible channel images is shown below (click image to play animation; also available as a MP4 movie file). Another smaller smoke plume can be seen originating from a fire in far southeastern British Columbia.

GOES-15 visible channel images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 visible channel images [click to play animation]

As it continued to burn into the following night; a comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR and 0.8 µm Day/Night Band images at 0958 UTC or 3:58 am local time (below) revealed the hot spot (yellow to red to black pixels) and the bright glow of the fire.

Suomi NPP VIIRS shortwave IR and Day/Night Band images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS shortwave IR and Day/Night Band images [click to enlarge]

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Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR images [click to enlarge]

On the following day (22 July), consecutive afternoon (1944 and 2122 UTC) Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR channel images (above) revealed changes in the shape and areal coverage of the fire hot spot (dark black pixels); the corresponding VIIRS Red/Green/Blue (RGB) true-color images (below) still showed a smoke plume, though is was not as large as that seen on the GOES visible imagery from the previous day.

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images

Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color RGB images

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On 23 July, daytime (1925 and 2104 UTC) Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR and true-color RGB images (below) continued to display large fire hot spots and a smoke plume drifting toward the east-northeast. The size of the Reynolds Creek Fire was estimated to have increased to 4000 acres.

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR and true-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR and true-color RGB images [click to enlarge]