Localized heavy rainfall and flooding in south-central Wisconsin

June 15th, 2016

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (above) showed the development of several rounds of deep convection which moved over parts of southern Wisconsin during the 14 June15 June 2016 period; these storms were responsible for heavy rainfall at some locations (NWS Milwaukee summary). As mentioned in a WPC Mesoscale Precipitation Discussion, some of these storms were focused along the nose of a low-level jet that was helping to push a warm frontal boundary (surface analyses) through the region. Moisture was also abundant south of the warm front, with a total precipitable water value of 55.1 mm (2.17 inches) seen in rawinsonde data from Davenport IA.

Landsat-8 false-color image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 false-color image [click to enlarge]

A timely cloud-free overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite on the morning of 15 June provided a 30-meter resolution false-color image as viewed using RealEarth (above), which showed areas of flooding — water appears as darker shades of blue — in the Black Earth area of western Dane County in southern Wisconsin. A before/after comparison of Landsat-8 images processed using an equation to highlight water as blue (below, courtesy of Shane Hubbard, SSEC/CIMSS) revealed the areas of inundation due to the 14-15 June thunderstorms.

Landsat-8 derived water change, 30 May vs 15 June 2016 [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 derived water change, 30 May vs 15 June 2016 [click to enlarge]

Aerial footage from a drone flight (below) showed vivid images of the flooding along Black Earth Creek.

YouTube video from drone flight near Black Earth, Wisconsin [click to play]

YouTube video from drone flight near Black Earth, Wisconsin [click to play]

Mesoscale Convective Vortex (MCV) in Texas

June 12th, 2016

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (above) showed a large Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) that developed in far eastern New Mexico after 2000 UTC on 11 June 2016, then moved eastward and eventually southward over West Texas during the nighttime hours on 12 June. The MCS produced wind gusts to 75 mph and hail of 1.00 inch in diameter in Texas (SPC storm reports).

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

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


Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images at 0801 UTC or 3:01 am local time (above) showed cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures were as cold as -83º C (violet color enhancement), along with a number of bright streaks on the Day/Night Band image due to cloud illumination by intense lightning activity (there were around 5000 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes associated with this MCS). On the infrared image, note the presence of cloud-top gravity waves propagating outward away from the core of overshooting tops.

This MCS produced heavy rainfall, with as much as 3.44 inches reported near Lomax (NWS Midland TX rainfall map | PNS). An animation of radar reflectivity (below, courtesy of Brian Curran, NWS Midland) showed the strong convective cells moving southward (before the Midland radar was struck by lightning and temporarily rendered out of service).

Midland, Texas radar reflectivity [click to play MP4 animation]

Midland, Texas radar reflectivity [click to play MP4 animation]

During the subsequent daytime hours, GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images (below) revealed the presence of a large and well-defined Mesoscale Convective Vortex (MCV) as the cirrus canopy from the decaying MCS eroded. A fantastic explanation of this MCV was included in the afternoon forecast discussion from NWS Dallas/Fort Worth. New thunderstorms were seen to develop over North Texas during the late afternoon and early evening hours as the MCV approached — there were isolated reports of hail and damaging winds with this new convection (SPC storm reports). Initiation of this new convection may have also been aided by convergence of the MCV with a convective outflow boundary moving southward from Oklahoma.

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

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

A sequence of Visible images from POES AVHRR (0.86 µm), Terra MODIS (0.65 µm), and Suomi NPP VIIRS (0.64 µm) (below) showed snapshots of the MCV at various times during the day.

Visible images from POES AVHRR (0.86 µm), Terra MODIS (0.65 µm), and Suomi NPP VIIRS (0.64 µm) [click to enlarge]

Visible images from POES AVHRR (0.86 µm), Terra MODIS (0.65 µm), and Suomi NPP VIIRS (0.64 µm) [click to enlarge]

Bonnie

May 29th, 2016

GOES-13 6.5 µm Water Vapor Infrared images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 6.5 µm Water Vapor Infrared images[click to play animation]

Tropical Depression 2 was upgraded to Tropical Storm Bonnie at 2100 UTC on Saturday 28 May, the second named storm of the 2016 Atlantic Season (Hurricane Alex, which formed in January, was the first named storm). The water vapor animation above shows that Bonnie’s initial spin may be traced to a front associated with an occluded system which crawled through the eastern United States, exiting on about 23 May 2016. It’s not uncommon for vorticity associated with extratropical cyclone fronts to sow the seed of a tropical cyclone, especially early (or late) in the season. In this case, the cold front failed to pass Bermuda, and by 27 May, persistent thunderstorms about halfway between Bermuda and the Bahamas suggested tropical cyclogenesis was underway (GOES-13 visible image animations: 26 May | 27 May).

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water derived from Microwave imagery, 1800 UTC 28 May - 1700 UTC 30 May [click to enlarge]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water derived from Microwave imagery, 1800 UTC 28 May – 1700 UTC 30 May [click to enlarge]

Total Precipitable Water fields from the microwave MIMIC product, above, show the system was embedded deep within tropical moisture (24-26 May animation). Tropical moisture associated with the storm moved up the east coast of the United States into the mid-Atlantic States with local flooding reported. This longer animation (from 21 through 28 May) shows that persistent westward motion of moisture occurred over the tropical Atlantic well in advance of Bonnie’s formation.

Rapidscat Scatterometer Winds, 1012 UTC on 27 May [click to enlarge]

Rapidscat Scatterometer Winds, 1012 UTC on 27 May [click to enlarge]

The tropical wave that produced Bonnie showed a closed circulation as early as 1012 UTC on 27 May according to Rapidscat scatterometer winds, above, and MODIS Sea Surface Temperatures, below, showed very warm water (with SST values of 80º F) over the Gulf Stream.

MODIS-based Sea Surface Temperatures, 1848 UTC on 27 May [click to enlarge]

MODIS-based Sea Surface Temperatures, 1848 UTC on 27 May [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.70 µm Visible) and Infrared (11.45 µm) Imagery at 0621 UTC on 27 May 2016 [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.70 µm Visible) and Infrared (11.45 µm) Imagery at 0621 UTC on 27 May 2016 [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP overflew this tropical system at various times during its lifecycle. Shortly after midnight on 27 May 2016, above, strong convection was centered just north of the apparent surface circulation (as inferred by the curved bands of low-level clouds, clouds made visible by moonlight in the night-time VIIRS Day/Night Band visible imagery). Twenty-four hours later, at 0742 UTC on 28 May, below, in a more zoomed-in view, the (then) Tropical Depression Number 2 is supporting strong convection that is obscuring the low-level circulation center.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.70 µm Visible) and Infrared (11.45 µm) Imagery at 0742 UTC on 28 May 2016 [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.70 µm Visible) and Infrared (11.45 µm) Imagery at 0742 UTC on 28 May 2016 [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.70 µm Visible) and Infrared (11.45 µm) Imagery at 0723 UTC on 29 May 2016 [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.70 µm Visible) and Infrared (11.45 µm) Imagery at 0723 UTC on 29 May 2016 [click to enlarge]

Finally, at 0723 UTC on 29 May, (above) after strong wind shear has displaced all convection well north of the center, the low-level circulation of Tropical Storm Bonnie is southeast of the South Carolina Coast. Strong convection is over North Carolina. This shear was noted in the 0300 UTC and 0900 UTC (29 May) Discussions from the National Hurricane Center. The effect of shear is apparent in the two GOES-13 Infrared Images below, from 2045 UTC on 28 May when convection was close to the center, and from 1045 UTC on 29 May, shortly before landfall, when convection was stripped from the center and displaced well to the north.

GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) Imagery at 2045 UTC on 28 May and at 1045 UTC 29 May 2016; the Yellow Arrow points to the low-level circulation center [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Infrared (10.7 µm) Imagery at 2045 UTC on 28 May and at 1045 UTC 29 May 2016; the Yellow Arrow points to the low-level circulation center [click to enlarge]

Closer views of the sheared system on 28 May can be seen on 1906 UTC VIIRS and 1937 UTC AVHRR Visible and Infrared images, as well as a GOES-13 Visible animation.

===== 01 June Update =====

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

The remnant circulation of Bonnie moved very slowly northeastward during the 30 May – 01 June period, as seen in GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images covering each of those 3 days (above; also available as a large 95 Mbyte animated GIF). The periodic formation of deep convective clusters continued to produce heavy rainfall over parts of far eastern North and South Carolina.

On the morning of 01 June, an overpass of the Metop-B ASCAT instrument sampled the flow around the low-level circulation center (LLCC) off the coast of North Carolina; several hours later, Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images provided a high-resolution view of the system at 1755 UTC (below). Cloud-top IR brightness temperatures were as cold as -78º C within the small convective cluster located just north of the LLCC.

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]

Heavy Rainfall in Southeast Texas

May 27th, 2016

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images [click to play animation]

4-km resolution GOES-13 (GOES-East) Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (above) showed the cold cloud tops associated with training and back-building thunderstorms that produced very heavy rainfall (along with some hail and damaging winds) in parts of Southeast Texas during the 26 May27 May 2016 period. The images are centered on Brenham, Texas (station identifies K11R), where over 19 inches of rainfall was reported in a 24-hour period (NWS Houston PNS). Note the presence of very cold cloud-top IR brightness temperatures of -80º C or colder (violet color enhancement).

During the overnight hours, a comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0801 UTC or 3:01 am local time (below) revealed cloud-top gravity waves propagating northwestward away from the core of overshooting tops (which exhibited IR brightness temperatures as cold as -84º C) located just to the west of Brenham. Due to ample illumination from the Moon — which was in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 71% of Full — the “visible image at night” capability of the VIIRS Day/Night Band (DNB) was well-demonstrated. The bright white streaks seen on the DNB image are a signature of cloud-top illumination by intense lightning activity.

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 time series plot of surface weather conditions at Brenham is shown below.

Time series plot of surface weather conditions at Brenham, Texas [click to enlarge]

Time series plot of surface weather conditions at Brenham, Texas [click to enlarge]

===== 28 May Update =====

Landsat-8 false-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 false-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

A 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) image viewed using the RealEarth web map server (above) showed widespread areas of inundation (darker shades of blue) along the Brazos River and some of its tributaries, just to the east and north of Brenham, Texas.