Deadly natural gas explosion and fire in San Bruno, California

September 10th, 2010
GOES-11 / GOES-15 / GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR images

GOES-11 / GOES-15 / GOES-13 3.9 µm shortwave IR images

A large natural gas explosion occurred in San Bruno, California on the evening of 09 September 2010, which killed 4 people and destroyed 38 homes. McIDAS images of GOES-11 (GOES-West), GOES-15, and GOES-13 (GOES-East) 3.9 µm shortwave IR channel data (above) showed the resulting fire “hot spots” (black to yellow color enhancement) during the 01:00 UTC to 04:00 UTC time period (6 pm to 9 pm local time).

The plot below shows that the maximum 3.9 µm shortwave IR pixel brightness temperatures were seen on the 01:15 UTC (6:15 pm local time) GOES-15 and GOES-13 images, and 30 minutes later at 01:45 UTC (6:45 pm local time) on the GOES-11 images.

Plot of GOES-11, GOES-15, and GOES-13 3.9 µm IR brightness temperatures

Plot of GOES-11, GOES-15, and GOES-13 3.9 µm IR brightness temperatures

A comparison of the 1-km resolution NOAA-16 AVHRR 3.7 µm and the 4-km resolution GOES-11 3.9 µm shortwave IR images (below) showed the fire hot spot (black pixels) around 02:00 UTC (7:00 pm local time). Note the more accurate placement of the fire hot spot on the AVHRR image — San Bruno is located more toward the eastern side of the San Francisco Peninsula.

NOAA-16 AVHRR 3.7 µm shortwave IR and GOES-11 3.9 µm shortwave IR images

NOAA-16 AVHRR 3.7 µm shortwave IR and GOES-11 3.9 µm shortwave IR images

AWIPS images of the 1-km resolution MODIS 3.7 µm shortwave IR channel and the 4-km resolution GOES-11 3.9 µm shortwave IR data around 06:00 UTC (11:00 pm local time) can be seen below. Although no fire hot spot was evident on the GOES-11 image, a small cluster of yellow pixels could still be seen on the MODIS image.

MODIS 3.7 µm shortwave IR and GOES-11 3.9 µm shortwave IR images

MODIS 3.7 µm shortwave IR and GOES-11 3.9 µm shortwave IR images

Development of a “warm conveyor belt” signature near the back edge of Tropical Storm Earl?

September 4th, 2010
GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor images (with surface fronts analyses)

GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor images (with surface fronts analyses)

AWIPS images of the GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor channel data (above) showed Hurricane / Tropical Storm Earl as it moved inland across the Canadian Maritime provinces on 04 September05 September 2010. However, at the same time a large mid-latitude cyclone was intensifying over far western Quebec — and the water vapor imagery began to display what appeared to be a warm conveyor belt signature (below) that stretched northwestward across Quebec and over Hudson Bay. It was somewhat surprising to see such a warm conveyor belt signature develop so close to the proximity of the back edge of the cloud shield of Earl.

GOES-13 water vapor image (with surface front analysis)

GOES-13 water vapor image (with surface front analysis)

The GFS40 model winds within the 315-325 K isentropic layer (below) indicated that there was a strong 60-knot jet moving across the region where the warm conveyor belt signature formed on the water vapor imagery.

GOES-13 water vapor image + GFS 315-325 K layer winds

GOES-13 water vapor image + GFS 315-325 K layer winds

A pair of 1-km resolution MODIS 6.7 µm water vapor images (below) showed greater detail of the structure of the warm conveyor belt signature as it was forming.

MODIS 6.7 µm water vapor images

MODIS 6.7 µm water vapor images

A sequence of four 1-km resolution POES AVHRR 10.8 µm IR images (below) showed the banding structure that was forming within the conveyor belt feature.

AVHRR 10.8 µm IR images

AVHRR 10.8 µm IR images

Earl approaches the East Coast of the United States

September 2nd, 2010

Morphed Microwave Imagery

Morphed Microwave Imagery (MIMIC), above, shows the evolution of the structure of Earl’s eye over the past 48 hours as Earl has strengthened from a Category 3 storm back to Category 4.

POES AVHRR 0.63 µm visible and 10.8 µm IR images

POES AVHRR 0.63 µm visible and 10.8 µm IR images

An AWIPS view of NOAA-16 AVHRR imagery (0.63 and 10.8 micron data, including ocean buoy reports) from just past 1200 UTC on 2 September, above, shows a well-defined eye nearly surrounded by convective clusters with temperatures near -75 C.

The northwestward motion of Hurricane Earl could be seen in a sequence of AWIPS images of POES AVHRR 10.8 µm IR and MODIS 11.0 µm IR data (below).

POES AVHRR 10.8 µm IR and MODIS 11.0 µm IR images

POES AVHRR 10.8 µm IR and MODIS 11.0 µm IR images

The visible imagery loop from this morning (below; also available as a QuickTime movie) from GOES-15 shows a steady motion just west of north.

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images

GOES-15 0.63 µm visible channel images

Click here for a true-color image of Earl derived from Terra MODIS data.

Hurricane Earl moving northeast of the Bahamas

September 1st, 2010

AWIPS images of 1-km resolution POES AVHRR visible channel 1 (0.63 µm) and channel 2 (0.86 µm) along with IR channel 4 (10.8 µm) data (below) showed Hurricane Earl moving northwestward, just to the northeast of the Bahamas, on 01 September 2010. Earl’s intensity decreased from a Category 4 to a Category 3 storm during the day.

POES AVHRR 0.63 µm visible images

POES AVHRR 0.63 µm visible images

POES AVHRR 0.86 µm visible images

POES AVHRR 0.86 µm visible images

POES AVHRR 10.8 µm IR images

POES AVHRR 10.8 µm IR images