Valley fog and mountain snow in the Catskills of New York

May 1st, 2018 |

As pointed out by NWS Binghamton, valley fog and higher-elevation snow cover was apparent on GOES-16 (GOES-East) Visible imagery in the Catskills of southeastern New York on the morning of 01 May 2018. A closer view comparing GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) images (below) showed the dissipation of the valley fog, followed by the melting of the snow cover in higher terrain (snowfall amounts of up to 3-4 inches fell in the area on 29 April). The Snow/Ice imagery was helpful in discriminating between the brighter valley fog features and the darker snow cover.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation | MP4]

A 250-meter resolution Terra MODIS True-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image acquired from the SSEC Direct Broadcast ground station (below) showed the remaining snow cover over the Catskills (near the center of the image) at 1539 UTC.

Terra MODIS True-color image [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True-color image [click to enlarge]

Refinery Explosion and Fire in Superior WI

April 26th, 2018 |

GOES-16 ABI “Red Visible” (0.64 µm) from 1532-2027 UTC on 26 April 2018 (Click to enlarge)

Explosions at an oil refinery in Superior WI on 26 April 2018 (news link) produced a black plume of smoke visible in the GOES-16 “Red Visible” Band, the highest resolution (0.5 km at nadir) band on GOES-16. The plume is first visible at about 1717 UTC, and it then streams southeastward over northwest Wisconsin. Areas immediately downwind of the refinery were evacuated due to air quality concerns.

The explosion and subsequent fire was not sufficiently hot to be detected by the shortwave infrared 3.9 µm channel on GOES-16. However, the smoke plume is obvious in this animation, cooler than the background by 3-4ºC, and yellow in the enhancement chosen.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm, right) images [click to animate]

The dark smoke plume was also evident on Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm) images (above), aided by the additional contrast between the dark plume and the lighter gray appearance of the land surface.

GOES-16 Natural Color images [click to animate]

GOES-16 Natural Color RGB images [click to animate]

The GOES-16 Natural Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) product (above) was also useful for identifying and tracking the smoke plume.

Aqua MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

250-meter resolution Aqua MODIS True Color and False Color images from the MODIS Today site (above) provided a detailed view of the smoke plume at 1842 UTC. In the False Color image, snow cover and lake ice appear as shades of cyan.

Heavy snow across southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and southern Wisconsin

April 18th, 2018 |

24-hour snowfall ending at 12 UTC on 19 April [click to enlarge]

24-hour snowfall ending at 12 UTC on 19 April [click to enlarge]

The map above shows a band of heavy snow that fell across southern Minnesota (as much as 11.0 inches), northern Iowa (as much as 12.0 inches) and southern Wisconsin (as much as 9.4 inches) on 18 April 2018.

Animations of 1-minute Mesoscale Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) and “Low-level” Water Vapor (7.3 µm) images (below) showed the formation of convective elements and banding along the southern edge of the colder cloud shield — snowfall rates were enhanced when these convective features moved overhead, and thundersnow was noted at some locations in northern Iowa and southern Wisconsin.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly surface weather type plotted in cyan [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly surface weather type plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Low=level” Water Vapor (7.3 µm) images, with hourly surface weather type plotted in cyan [click to play MP4 animation]

In south-central Wisconsin, Madison (KMSN) received 7.2 inches of snowfall, which set a new record for daily snowfall (and helped to make April the snowiest month of the 2017/2018 winter seeason). In addition, the daily maximum temperature was only 33 ºF, which was a record low maximum for the date. Over the southwestern part of the city, a cluster of GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) Groups was detected from 1918 to 1919 UTC (below; courtesy of Dave Santek, SSEC) — the GOES-16 Visible image at that time did display a textured cloud top appearance characteristic of embedded convection across southern Wisconsin.

GOES-16 GLM Groups [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 GLM Groups [click to enlarge]

===== 20 April Update =====

GOES-16 true-color (daytime) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, nighttime) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 natural-color RGB (daytime) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, nighttime) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A fast animation of GOES-16 natural-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images (above) revealed the rapid rate of snow melt — especially on 19 April — along the southern edge of the snow cover (where lighter amounts of snow fell). The effect of the high late-April sun angle also played a role in the rapid snow melt.

Grass fires in northwest and southwest Oklahoma

April 12th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, bottom) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute Mesoscale Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the development and rapid spread of grass fires in northwest Oklahoma on 12 April 2018. Hot fire pixels are highlighted as red on the Shortwave Infrared images — and the rapid northeastward run of the larger fires was very evident. The intense heat of the fires produced pyrocumulus clouds, which could be seen on the Visible images. Additional images are available on the Satellite Liaison Blog.

SPC had highlighted parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma as having conditions favorable for Extreme wildfire behavior due to strong winds, hot temperatures and very dry air behind a dryline boundary (below). Note that the surface temperature / dew point depression at Woodward, Oklahoma (KWWR) at 2255 UTC on 12 April was 100 ºF (temperature = 97 ºF, dew point = -2 ºF), with southwesterly winds gusting to 35 knots or 40 mph.

SPC Day 1 Fire Outlook [click to enlarge]

SPC Day 1 Fire Outlook [click to enlarge]

===== 13 April Update =====

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to enlarge]

The fires in northwestern Oklahoma continued to burn into the following night — Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images at 0837 UTC or 3:37 AM local time (above) revealed the bright glow and hot fire pixels associated with the 2 large fire complexes in Woodward County (34 Complex Fire) and Dewey County (Rhea Fire). At least 2 fatalities (Wildfire Today | media report) have been attributed to the larger and longer-burning Rhea Fire in Dewey County (which had burned an estimated 241,280 acres by mid-day on 14 April).

During the following daytime hours of 13 April, GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (below) showed the smoke plumes and hot pixels of the northwestern Oklahoma fires. The surface cold front moved over these fires around 18 UTC, with smoke transport transitioning more toward the east then southeast.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, bottom) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

Farther to the southwest, new grass fires which began burning west of the Texas/Oklahoma border after 17 UTC quickly raced eastward and crossed the border into southwestern Oklahoma after 20 UTC (below).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, bottom) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

===== 14 April Update =====

Three nighttime comparisons of (Preliminary, non-operational) NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) images — each image pair separated by 50 minutes — (below; courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS) showed the bright glow and thermal hot spots of the ongoing Rhea fire complex.

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) images at 0737 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) images at 0737 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) images [click to enlarge]

===== 15 April Update =====

250-meter resolution Terra MODIS true-color and false-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from MODIS Today (below) showed the burn scars from the 34 Complex and the larger Rhea Fire at 1719 UTC on 15 April 2018.

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

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