Increase in Turbidity near the Texas Gulf Coast following Hurricane Harvey

August 30th, 2017 |

Terra MODIS True-Color imagery off the Texas Gulf Coast on 23 and 30 August, 2017 (Click to enlarge)

MODIS Today imagery from 23 August (pre-Harvey) (cropped) and 30 August (post-Harvey) (cropped), above, show an enormous increase in turbidity in the nearshore waters off the coast of Texas. Further, many of the rivers change their appearance to brown and flooding in the post-Harvey image. (River gauges in flood stage; Source)

A similar toggle using Suomi NPP VIIRS Imagery, from this site, also from 23 August and 30 August, is shown below. The increase in turbidity was due to a combination of strong winds and runoff from very heavy rainfall associated with the hurricane.

Suomi NPP True-Color imagery off the Texas Gulf Coast on 23 and 30 August, 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP VIIRS Products include a River Flood estimate, developed by Sanmei Li and others at George Mason University. The toggle below from RealEarth shows Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color at 1904 UTC, and the River Flood Product for the same time.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True-Color imagery off the Texas Gulf Coast, 1904 UTC on 30 August, 2017, and the Suomi NPP River Flood Product at the same time (Click to enlarge)

(Thanks to Bill Taylor and John Stoppkotte, NWS in N. Platte NE, for noting this!)

1 week of Upper Midwest MCS activity: a GOES-16 overview

July 26th, 2017 |
GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

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

During the week of 19 July26 July 2017, the Upper Midwest was affected  by a number of strong to severe Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) events, as shown in an animation of GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above).

At the beginning of that time period, a derecho moved across the region on 19 July producing widespread damaging winds, large hail and a few tornadoes (blog post).

Following the derecho, a separate outbreak of thunderstorms exhibited well-defined “enhanced-V” storm top signatures in western Wisconsin (below).

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) image [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) image [click to enlarge]

Another MCS produced tornadoes and damaging winds across eastern Iowa and northern Illinois on 21 July (SPC storm reports) — at one point a storm in northern Illinois exhibited a seldom-seen “warm trench” surrounding an overshooting top (below).

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) image [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) image [click to enlarge]

Early in the day on 23 July, “transverse banding” — a signature indicating the likelihood of high-altitude turbulence — was seen around the northern periphery of an MCS that was centered in southern Illinois (below).

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) image [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) image [click to enlarge]

A pattern of mesoscale banding was displayed by thunderstorms that produced localized 1-2″ amounts of rainfall across southern Wisconsin on 26 July (below).

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) image [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) image [click to enlarge]

Also noteworthy was the swath of very heavy rainfall during this 1-week period across eastern Iowa, far southwestern Wisconsin and northern Illinois (below), which was responsible for flash flooding in those areas.

7-day total precipitation, departure from normal and percent of normal [click to enlarge]

7-day total precipitation, departure from normal and percent of normal [click to enlarge]

Using GOES-16 Baseline Products to anticipate where heavy rain might fall

July 10th, 2017 |

GOES-16 10.3 µm “Clean Window” Superimposed on the Clear-Sky Baseline Total Precipitable Water Product, 0107 – 1337 UTC on 10 July (Click to play large animated gif)

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

Very heavy rain (4-5″) fell over parts of southwestern Wisconsin early on 10 July 2017 as a Mesoscale Convective System traversed the Upper Midwest (0831 UTC VIIRS Infrared vs Day/Night Band). The animation above blends the Clean Window (10.3 µm) from GOES-16 with the Total Precipitable Water Baseline Product (This product is available online — with a time delay — here). Note that the largest values of Precipitable Water are diagnosed to be over southern and western of Wisconsin. Looking at the animation of the 10.3 µm imagery, can you decide where the heaviest rain fell?

A screen capture from this website, below, shows 24-hour precipitation over the Upper Midwest, with a northwest-to-southeast oriented maximum near the northwest-to-southeast gradient of diagnosed total precipitable water field shown in the animation above. (This summary from the National Weather Service in Milwaukee shows accumulated precipitation ending at 0900 Central Time).

The Hazardous Weather Testbed at the Storm Prediction Center evaluates GOES-16 (and other satellites, such as Suomi NPP) products. There have been many instances that noted convection was most intense along the gradient of the moisture (See this summary, for example, or this one.) When GOES-16 Baseline Products indicate a gradient, pay close attention when strong convection develops upstream.

24-hour Precipitation over the Upper Midwest ending at 1200 UTC on 10 July 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Added: One day later, again, convection initiated (and/or persisted) north of the diagnosed Total Precipitable Water maximum over Illinois and Iowa (link), i.e., in the gradient of Total Precipitable Water.

Severe thunderstorms in the Northeast US

July 1st, 2017 |

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

As noted in the Tweet above from NWS Gray/Portland ME, a record number of tornado warnings were issued by that office on 01 July 2017. According to their damage surveys, the tornadoes were rated EF-0 to EF-1, with some straight-line wind damage also seen. GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images with plots of SPC storm reports (below; also available as a 98-Mbyte animated GIF) displayed the overshooting tops and colder cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures associated with some of the thunderstorms. Note the significant offset between cloud-top features and storm reports — this is due to parallax from the large viewing angle of the GOES-16 satellite (which is positioned over the Equator at 105º West longitude).

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images, with plots of SPC storm reports in red on Visible, and in black on Infrared [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images, with plots of SPC storm reports in red on Visible, and in black on Infrared [click to play MP4 animation]

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1744 UTC (below) showed the early stages of convective development in far southwestern Maine, in addition to well-developed thunderstorms in eastern New York (which would later move northeastward to produce a swath of heavy rainfall that caused flooding at some locations).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11..45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11..45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Thunderstorm development was fueled by high amounts of moisture that had moved into the Northeast US, as shown below by the Blended Total Precipitable Water product (values in the 40-50 mm or 1.6-2.0 inch range) and the Blended Total Precipitable Water Percent of Normal product (with values in excess of 200%).

Blended Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

Blended Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

Blended Total Precipitable Water Percent of Normal product [click to enlarge]

Blended Total Precipitable Water Percent of Normal product [click to enlarge]

The hourly evolution of moisture was depicted by the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below).

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation]