Blowing dust event in Texas and New Mexico

October 18th, 2011 |
GOES-11, GOES-15, and GOES-13 visible channel images (click image to play animation)

GOES-11, GOES-15, and GOES-13 visible channel images (click image to play animation)

A major blowing dust event occurred in the wake of a strong cold frontal boundary that moved rapidly southward across western Texas and eastern New Mexico late in the day on 17 October 2011 — the blowing dust reduced surface visibilities to near zero in some locations as winds gusted as high as 75 mph (see NWS Lubbock story). McIDAS images of GOES-11 (GOES-West), GOES-15, and GOES-13 (GOES-East) visible channel data during the daylight hours and shortwave IR data after sunset (above; click image to play animation) showed the southward propagation of the well-defined arc of blowing dust (or “haboob”), along with the surge of cooler air behind the cold front. A few wildfire “hot spots” (darker black pixels) were also evident on the GOES shortwave IR images, a result of fires started by downed power lines.

Much of that region had been experiencing long-term extreme to exceptional drought conditions — and an AWIPS image of the MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (below) showed very low NDVI values across much of western Texas the day before the dust storm.

MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index

MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index

 

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