Snowfall across the Deep South

December 9th, 2017 |

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 (GOES-East) Visible (0.63 µm) images (above) showed a broad swath of snow cover from Louisiana to Virginia on 09 December 2017. Some notable storm total accumulations included 6.5 inches at Kentwood, Louisiana, 7.0 inches at Bay Springs, Mississippi, 12.0 inches at Jacksonville, Alabama, 2.0 inches at Century, Florida, 18.0 inches at Mountain City, Georgia, 7.0 inches near Roan Mountain, Tennessee, and 25 inches at Mt. Mitchell State Park, North Carolina. Daily record snowfall accumulations included a Trace at New Orleans, Louisiana, 5.1 inches at Jackson, Mississippi and 1 inch at Mobile, Alabama.

A closer view of GOES-13 visible images (below) showed the band of snow cover across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Much of the the snow melted quickly, due to warm ground temperatures and a full day of sun.

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with station identifiers plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

A more detailed view of the snow cover was provided by 250-meter resolution Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the SSEC MODIS Direct Broadcast site (below). Note that snow cover was evident all the way to the Gulf Coast at Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana early in the day.

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images of the central Gulf Coast region [click to enlarge]

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color images of the central Gulf Coast region [click to enlarge]

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, centered over Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana [click to enlarge]

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color RGB images, centered over Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana [click to enlarge]

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color images, centered over New Orleans, Louisiana [click to enlarge]

Terra and Aqua MODIS true-color images, centered over New Orleans, Louisiana [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS true-color image, centered over Atlanta, Georgia [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS true-color image, centered over Atlanta, Georgia [click to enlarge]

It is interesting to note that with the aid of reflected moonlight — the Moon was in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 59% of Full — the Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) was able to detect the area of deeper snow cover across southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi at 0741 UTC or 1:41 AM local time; this snow cover was then seen during the following morning on GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) imagery at 1440 UTC or 8:40 AM local time (below). A VIIRS instrument is part of the payload on the recently-launched JPSS-1/NOAA-20 satellite.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Snowfall in southern Texas

December 8th, 2017 |

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation]

The combination of lift from an upper-level trough and cold air behind the passage of a surface cold front  set the stage for accumulating snow across far southern Texas on 08 December 2017. As the clouds cleared, GOES-13 (GOES-East) Visible (0.63 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) revealed a narrow swath of snow cover running northeastward from the Rio Grande River toward Corpus Christi — the highest snowfall total associated with this feature was 7.0 inches near Corpus Christi. Daily snowfall records included 0.3 inch at Brownsville and 1.0 inch at Corpus Christi.

A toggle between Terra MODIS true-color and false-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from RealEarth (below) showed the southwestern portion of this band of snow cover (which appeared as darker shades of cyan in the false-color image).

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

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

Farther to the north, another southwest-to-northeast oriented band of snow cover was seen on Terra MODIS true-color and false-color RGB images (below), stretching from San Antonio to Austin to College Station. The highest snowfall total there was 5.0 inches (NWS Austin/San Antonio summary),

Terra MODIS true-color and false-color images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS true-color and false-color images [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Ophelia

October 14th, 2017 |

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm, right) images, with hourly surface reports (in metric units) plotted in yellow [click to animate]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm, right) images, with hourly surface reports (in metric units) plotted in yellow [click to animate]

Hurricane Ophelia — the record-tying 10th consecutive Atlantic basin hurricane of the 2017 season — reached a satellite-estimated Category 3 intensity at 15 UTC on 14 October 2017. GOES-13 (GOES-East) Visible (0.63 µm) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (above) showed a well-defined circular eye as the storm moved well south of the Azores. The tweet below underscores the unusual nature of the intensity and location of Ophelia (which also occurred over unusually-cold waters).

A DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image (below) also revealed a circular eye structure.

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image [click to enlarge]

DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) image [click to enlarge]

One factor that might have aided this increase of intensity was the recent passage of Ophelia through an environment of higher Maximum Potential Intensity (reference), where maximum wind speed values of 100 knots resided (below).

Maximum Potential Instability wind speed plot from 13 October, with the track of Ophelia as of 18 UTC on 14 October [click to enlarge]

Maximum Potential Instability wind speed plot from 13 October, with the track of Ophelia as of 18 UTC on 14 October [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Nate makes landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi

October 7th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm. left) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm. left) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

* GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing *

1-minute interval Mesoscale Sector GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) showed the large central dense overcast (which exhibited cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures of -80ºC and colder, violet colors, and at times -90ºC and colder, yellow enhancement) and subsequent smaller convective bursts associated with Hurricane Nate on 07 October 2017.

After having moved north-northwestward at speeds up to 24 mph — quite possibly the fastest-moving tropical cyclone on record in the Gulf of Mexico — Nate made its initial landfall (as a Category 1 storm) in Louisiana near the mouth of the Mississippi River at 00 UTC on 08 October 2017 [note: Nate’s second landfall was around 0530 UTC near Biloxi, Mississippi]. A few reports of damaging winds and tornadoes were noted ahead of and during Nate’s landfall; a listing of other wind gusts can be seen here.

Earlier in the day, DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) imagery was hinting at the development of a closed eye structure beneath the central dense overcast seen on GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) imagery (below).

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) and DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images around 1215 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) and DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) images around 1215 UTC [click to enlarge]

Even though Nate passed over very warm water in the Gulf of Mexico (below), the fast forward motion of the storm limited its ability to take advantage of those warm waters and rapidly intensify.

Sea Surface Temperature and Ocean Heat Content analyses from 06 October, with an overlay of the 07 October path of Hurricane Nate ending at 12 UTC [click to enlarge]

Sea Surface Temperature and Ocean Heat Content analyses from 06 October, with an overlay of the 07 October path of Hurricane Nate ending at 12 UTC [click to enlarge]