Atmospheric river events bring heavy precipitation to California

January 13th, 2017

MIMIC Total Precipatable Water product [click to play MP4 animation]

MIMIC Total Precipatable Water product [click to play MP4 animation]

A series of 3 atmospheric river events brought heavy rainfall and heavy snowfall to much of California during the first 10 days of January 2017 (NWS San Francisco/Monterey | WeatherMatrix blog). Hourly images of the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (above; also available as a 33 Mbyte animated GIF) showed the second and third of these atmospheric river events during the 06 January11 January 2017 period, which were responsible for the bulk of the heavy precipitation; these 2 events appear to have drawn moisture northeastward from the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)..

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Near-Infrared

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (2.1 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A relatively cloud-free day on 13 January provided a good view of the Sacramento Valley and San Francisco Bay regions. A comparison of Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Near-Infrared  “Snow/Ice” (2.1 µm) images (above) showed that snow cover in the higher terrain of the Coastal Ranges and the Sierra Nevada appeared darker in the Snow/Ice band image (since snow and ice are strong absorbers of radiation at the 2.1 µm wavelength) — but water is an even stronger absorber, and therefore appeared even darker (which allowed the areas of flooding along the Sacramento River and its tributaries to be easily identified). A similar type of 1.6 µm Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” Band imagery will be available from the ABI instrument on the GOES-R series, beginning with GOES-16.

Better detail of the flooded areas of the Sacramento River and its tributaries was seen in 250-meter resolution false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) imagery from the MODIS Today site — water appears as darker shades of blue, while snow appears as shades of cyan (in contrast to supercooled water droplet clouds, which appear as shades of white). In the corresponding MODIS true-color image, rivers and bays with high amounts of turbidity (tan shades) were evident; the offshore flow of sediment from a few rivers could also be seen.

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

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

 

Heavy rainfall and high-elevation snowfall in Hawai’i

December 2nd, 2016

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with overlays of GFS model 500 hPa geopotential height [click to play animation]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with overlays of GFS model 500 hPa geopotential height [click to play animation]

6-hour interval GOES-15 (GOES-West) Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images with overlays of GFS model 500 hPa geopotential height (above) showed middle to upper tropospheric moisture that was being drawn northwestward toward Hawai’i by the circulation of a closed low centered southwest of the state during the 01-02 December 2016 period.

A closer view using 15-minute interval GOES-15 Water Vapor images (below) showed 2 distinct pulses of moisture moving across the eastern portion of the island chain. Due to the prolonged flow of moisture and the variable terrain, Flood Warnings and Winter Storm Warnings were issued for the Big Island of Hawai’i (as shown using RealEarth).

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with hourly surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-15 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with hourly surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

Hourly images of the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water (TPW) product (below) showed the large plume of moisture, which had its roots within the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Maximum TPW values in the vicinity of Hawai’i were in the 50-55 mm (2.0-2.2 inch) range. 24-hour rainfall amounts were as high as 6.27 inches on the island of Hawai’i and 3.67 inches on the island of Kauai.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product, with tropical surface analyses [click to play animation]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product, with tropical surface analyses [click to play animation]

===== 03 December Update =====

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images (below) provided glimpses of the snow-covered peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa (circled in red) on the Big Island of Hawai’i early in the day on 03 December.

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly surface reports [click to play animation]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly surface reports [click to play animation]

Hurricane Matthew: heavy rainfall and flooding across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic US

October 9th, 2016

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product, from 06 October/04 UTC to 08 October/16 UTC [click to play MP4 animation]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product, from 06 October/04 UTC to 08 October/16 UTC [click to play MP4 animation]

Copious amounts of moisture associated with Hurricane Matthew resulted in heavy rainfall (map | text list) and widespread flooding across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic US during the 07 October to 09 October 2016 period. Hourly images of the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water (TPW) product (above; also available as a 22 Mbyte animated GIF) showed the high TPW values that spread from Florida to the Mid-Atlantic states; all-time record high TPW values were measured via rawinsonde at Jacksonville, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina, with a record high value for the month of October at Newport/Cape Hatteras, North Carolina (Tweet). For more details, see the Weather Underground blog.

Track of Matthew, from 28 September at 12 UTC to 09 October at 18 UTC

Track of Matthew, from 28 September at 12 UTC to 09 October at 18 UTC

Matthew set numerous records for intensity, longevity, and landfall (summary) — an animation of hourly GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images covering the 11-day period from 12 UTC on 28 September to 12 UTC on 09 October is shown below (also available as a large 113 Mbyte animated GIF). The CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site posted GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) animations from the individual days of 03 October, 04 October, 05 October, 06 October, 07 October, and 08 October.

GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

The combination of high winds and flooding led to widespread power outages, with over 2 million homes and businesses without power. A comparison of nighttime Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images from 28 September (before Mattthew arrived) and 09/10 October (after the passage of Matthew) showed a notable reduction in the glow of city lights in areas with no power (below; images courtesy of William Straka, SSEC). Note that the presence of patchy clouds on all 3 images tended to diffuse or even obscure the appearance of city lights below, depending on the thickness of the cloud layer(s).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images on 28 September, 09 October and 10 October [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images on 28 September, 09 October and 10 October [click to enlarge]

As clouds cleared in the wake of Hurricane Matthew on 09 October, a Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image at 1859 UTC, viewed using RealEarth (below), revealed patterns of turbidity in the offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to North Carolina; this increased turbidity was a result of high amounts of particles suspended in the water due to a combination of mixing from prolonged high winds and runoff from inland flooding.

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

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

About 8 hours later, a Terra MODIS Sea Surface Temperature (SST) product image at 0243 UTC on 10 October (below) showed a large eddy of warm Gulf Stream water (with a maximum SST value of 85.2º F, darker red color enhancement) surrounding a pocket of cooler water (with a minimum SST value of 78.5º F, darker blue color enhancement) off the coast of South Carolina.

Terra MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

The VIIRS Instrument on Suomi NPP provides data that are used in a River Flood Product (discussed previously on this blog). The product uses three reflective bands (I01, I02, and I03 at 0.64 µm, 0.86 µm and 1.61 µm, respectively) and the infrared window band I05 at 11.45 µm. The image below (courtesy of Sanmei Li at George Mason University) identifies many flooded regions over North Carolina. In particular, the flooding near Goldsboro and Lumberton is identified.

snppviirs_floodmap_south_north_carolina_usa_11oct_2016_18_17

JPSS River Flood product produced with Suomi NPP data, 1817 UTC on 11 October 2016 (Click to enlarge)

A sequence of 1 pre-Matthew (06 September) and 3 post-Matthew (09, 10 and 12 October) Terra/Aqua MODIS false-color RGB images from the SSEC MODIS Today site (below) also helped to highlight areas of flooding (darker shades of blue, especially notable along river valleys) that resulted from the heavy rainfall.

Terra and Aqua MODIS false-color images, from 06 September and 09, 10 and 12 October 2016 [click to enlarge]

Terra and Aqua MODIS false-color images, from 06 September and 09, 10 and 12 October 2016 [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Hermine

September 1st, 2016

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

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

Hermine was upgraded to a Hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico around 20 UTC on 01 September 2016. GOES-13 (GOES-East) Visible (0.63 µm) images (above) showed improvement in the appearance of curved banding structures around the eye late in the day. The GOES-13 satellite had been placed into Rapid Scan Operations (RSO) mode, providing images as frequently as every 5-7 minutes. Note that Hurricane Hermine developed from Tropical Invest 99L, which was sampled by 1-minute GOES-14 imagery beginning on 25 August; unfortunately, the 1-minute Super Rapid Scan Operations for GOES-R (SRSO-R) test period ended at 1115 UTC on 29 August (however, imaging of the evolution of Tropical Depression 9 to Hurricane Hermine continued at 15-minute intervals).

The corresponding GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (below) revealed the eventual formation of a distinct eye, with bursts of convection exhibiting cloud-top IR brightness temperatures in the -75º to -80º C range (shades of white to violet pixels) in the western and southern semicircles of the eyewall region. Hermine became the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005.

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images, with surface/buoy/ship reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images, with surface/buoy/ship reports plotted in yellow [click to play animation]

A Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image visualized using RealEarth (below) provided a detailed view of the curved banding around the western and southern portion of the eye.

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

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

A comparison of DMSP-17 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images around 2315 UTC (below) depicted a much larger eye presentation on microwave vs infrared — the microwave image showed the curved banding structure around an eye that was still not well-organized.

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

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

While Hermine passed over waters exhibiting warm Sea Surface Temperature values in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Ocean Heat Content values were only modest (below).

Sea Surface Temperature and Ocean Heat Content values [click to enlarge]

Sea Surface Temperature and Ocean Heat Content values [click to enlarge]

The high values of Total Precipitable Water (TPW) associated with Hermine were evident on hourly composites of morphed TPW from MIRS sensors (below). Rainfall amounts exceeded 22 inches in Florida (WPC storm summary)

Morphed Total Precipitable Water derived from MIRS sensors [click to play animation]

Morphed Total Precipitable Water derived from MIRS sensors [click to play animation]


===== Post-landfall Update, 02 September =====
 

Suomi-NPP overflew Hermine shortly after 0700 UTC on 02 September, after its 0530 UTC landfall near St. Mars FL. The toggle below shows the VIIRS 0.7 µm Day/Night Band and the 11.45 µm Infrared Window imagery. Both show the asymmetric nature of the storm. Rain and clouds extend quite a distance to the south and east of the storm, but not far to the west. The infrared imagery shows cold cloud tops surrounding the storm center southeast of Tallahassee, with very cold cloud tops also over Tampa FL and near Savannah GA with bands associated with the storm. Cloud detail is missing in the Day/Night Band image because of the lack of lunar illumination — a New Moon occurred early on 01 September — however, high-altitude mesospheric airglow waves (references: 1 | 2 | 3) can be seen off the east coast of Florida and Georgia, excited by Hermine’s bands of strong thunderstorms.

Suomi NPP Day/Night Band Visible (0.70 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0723 UTC on 2 September [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP Day/Night Band Visible (0.70 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0723 UTC on 2 September [click to enlarge]

A toggle between before-landfall (0319 UTC Terra MODIS) and after-landfall (0814 UTC POES AVHRR) Infrared images, below, shows the expected trend of warming cloud-top IR brightness temperatures and a consolidation into a more compact storm circulation.

11.0 µm Terra MODIS (0319 UTC) and 12.0 µm POES AVHRR (0814 UTC) Infrared images [click to enlarge]

11.0 µm Terra MODIS (0319 UTC) and 12.0 µm POES AVHRR (0814 UTC) Infrared images [click to enlarge]

===== 03 September Update =====

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0707 UTC on 03 September (above; courtesy of William Straka, SSEC) showed that Hermine — still being classified as a Tropical Storm — continued to produce mesospheric airglow waves as it moved off the East Coast of the US. Numerous bright white streaks were also evident on the Day/Night Band image, due to cloud illumination from intense lightning activity.

During the following daylight hours of 03 September, GOES-13 (GOES-East) Visible (0.63 µm) images (below: also available as an MP4 animation) showed the circulation of post-tropical cyclone Hermine. In eastern North Carolina, winds gusts as high as 80 mph were recorded, with rainfall amounts as great as 8.54 inches (NWS Newport/Morehead City); the storm also produced a few tornadoes (SPC Storm Reports). In southeastern Virginia, winds gusted to 73 mph (NWS Wakefield). A few of the heavier rainfall amounts for individual states are listed here.

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with surface and buoy wind barbs plotted in yellow and wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with surface and buoy wind barbs plotted in yellow and wind gusts (knots) plotted in red [click to play animation]

A Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color image visualized using RealEarth (below) showed the clouds associated with Hermine at 1827 UTC.

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

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