Turbulence over the western United States

February 13th, 2019 |

GOES-17 Low-Level Water Vapor Imagery (7.3 µm) on 13 February 2019, 1932-2012 UTC (Click to animate)

A strong storm system affecting the western third of the United States on 13 February 2019 was responsible for turbulence that caused damage and injuries and forced an ERJ-170 aircraft flying from John Wayne Airport (in Orange County CA) to Seattle WA to make an unscheduled stop in Reno NV (News report). (Flight Aware information on the flight) Three passengers were hospitalized.

The water vapor imagery animation above, annotated so that the departure airport (SNA) and Reno (RNO) are shown in the first frame. During the second run-through of the animation, the approximate location of the turbulence is noted with a red square (Flight Aware data suggests it occurred very near 2030 UTC — Flight Aware times are EST), and the animation slows. Water Vapor imagery suggests that the aircraft encountered a convective element that likely was associated with the Sierra Nevada. A stepped animation between 2027 and 2032 UTC is shown below.

GOES-17 Low-Level Water Vapor Imagery (7.3 µm) on 13 February 2019, 2027 and 2032 UTC (Click to enlarge)

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