Chemical plant fire near Dallas, Texas

October 3rd, 2011 |
GOES-11, GOES-15, and GOES-13 visible channel images

GOES-11, GOES-15, and GOES-13 visible channel images

A McIDAS image comparison of GOES-11 (GOES-West) 0.65 µm visible channel, GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel, and GOES-13 (GOES-East) 0.63 µm visible channel data (above) showed the dark smoke plume from a fire burning at a chemical plant in Waxahachie, Texas (about 30 miles south of Dallas) on 03 October 2011. (Note: GOES-15 is scheduled to replace GOES-11 as the operational GOES-West satellite in December 2011).

A similar comparison of the GOES-11, GOES-15, and GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR channels (below) indicated that no obvious fire “hot spot” was evident before the appearance of the dark smoke plume — the brighter yellow colors highlight pixels which have an IR brightness temperature hotter than 45º C. This 45º C threshold was exceeded at 16:30 UTC on the GOES-15 and GOES-13 images, and at 16:45 on the GOES-11 images; on the visible channel imagery, the dark smoke plume was seen 30 minutes earlier at 16:00 UTC on all 3 satellites.

GOES-11, GOES-15, and GOES-13 shortwave IR images

GOES-11, GOES-15, and GOES-13 shortwave IR images

A 17:32 UTC Terra MODIS Red/Green/Blue (RGB) true color image from the SSEC MODIS Today site (below, viewed using Google Earth) confirmed the very dark nature of the smoke plume from this particular fire, which was causing some evacuations (news media story).

MODIS true color RGB image (viewed using Google Earth)

MODIS true color RGB image (viewed using Google Earth)

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