Severe turbulence injures 24 on JetBlue Flight 429

August 11th, 2016

JetBlue Flight 429 flight path [click to enlarge]

JetBlue Flight 429 flight path [click to enlarge]

JetBlue Flight 429 encountered severe turbulence over south-central South Dakota around 0115 UTC on 12 August (7:15 pm local time on 11 August) 2016, which caused injuries to 22 passengers and 2 crew members (media story). The aircraft (flying from Boston MA to Sacramento CA) had to be diverted to Rapid City SD, as seen on the flight path map above (source: FlightAware.com).

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 um) images, with pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 um) images, with pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

1-km resolution GOES-13 Visible (0.63 um) images (above) showed widespread thunderstorms across the region, with rapidly-developing new cells forming in the vicinity of the turbulence encounter. A Turbulence AIRMET had been issued around 23 UTC for that portion of the flight path, and Convective SIGMETs also advised of the potential for severe thunderstorms with tops above 45,000 feet (JetBlue 429 was cruising at an altitude of 32,000 feet).

The corresponding 4-km resolution GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 um) images (below) indicated that cloud-top IR brightness temperatures were as cold as -54C (orange color enhancement) just east of the pilot report at 0100 UTC.

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 um) images, with pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 um) images, with pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

1-km resolution POES AVHRR Visible (0.86 um) and Infrared (12.0 um) images at 0049 UTC (below) provided a more detailed view of the developing cells less than 30 minutes prior to the turbulence encounter.

POES AVHRR Visible (0/86 um) and Infrared (12.0 um) images, with pilot reports [click to enlarge]

POES AVHRR Visible (0/86 um) and Infrared (12.0 um) images, with pilot reports [click to enlarge]

GOES-14 SRSO-R: severe thunderstorms over North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota

August 10th, 2016

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly surface reports and SPC storm reports of hail (yellow) and damaging winds (cyan) [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images, with hourly surface reports and SPC storm reports of hail (yellow) and damaging winds (cyan) [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute SRSO-R GOES-14 Visible (0.63 µm) images (above; also available as a 265 Mbyte animated GIF) showed the development of severe thunderstorms which produced large hail and damaging winds (SPC storm reports) in southeastern North Dakota, northeastern South Dakota and far western Minnesota on 10 August 2016. SPC noted a region of enhanced instability centered over southeastern North Dakota around 16 UTC (MCD); it is interesting to note that an orphan anvil was seen to form around 13 UTC between Valley City (KBAC) and Gwinner (KGWR) — near the northern edge of the pocket of instability — before the main convection began to develop just north of the North Dakota/South Dakota border around 1515 UTC.

GOES-14 is operating in SRSO-R Mode

August 9th, 2016

GOES-14 0.62 µm Visible images from 1230 to 1245 UTC on 9 August 2016 [click to play animation]

GOES-14 0.62 µm Visible images from 1230 to 1245 UTC on 9 August 2016 [click to play animation]

GOES-14 is in SRSO-R mode from today through 25 August, providing 1-minute imagery over western portions of the United States. The geographic footprint for 9 August 2016 is shown above (realtime images), and the 15-minute animation contains 13 images, versus the normal 2 that GOES-East or GOES-West would provide during routine scanning. This one-minute imagery is being provided to help prepare for GOES-R; GOES-R is scheduled to launch on 4 November, and when operational it will routinely provide 1-minute imagery in mesoscale sectors.

Shown below is a comparison of GOES-15 (GOES-West), GOES-14 and GOES-13 (GOES-East) Visible images covering the longer 1-hour period of 1230-1330 UTC, focusing on a area of thunderstorms over North Texas. During this time, there are 53 images from GOES-14, compared to 7 images from GOES-15 and 5 images from GOES-13 — note how the evolution of overshooting tops is very easy to follow using the 1-minute GOES-14 imagery.

GOES-15 (left), GOES-14 (center and GOES-13 (right) Visible images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 (left), GOES-14 (center and GOES-13 (right) Visible images [click to play animation]

GOES-14 also monitored the dissipation of fog/low stratus clouds over Nebraska, as seen in the animation below. Additional details can be found here.

GOES-14 Visible (0.62 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-14 Visible (0.62 µm) images [click to play animation]

Later in the day, the GOES-14 Visible (0.62 µm) animation below (also available as a large 62 Mbyte animated GIF) showed the development of severe thunderstorms in Montana and Wyoming, which produced several reports of damaging winds and large hail (up to 4.0 inches in diameter). This example is particularly noteworthy due to the fact that the storm was well-sampled by satellite imagery in a region of poor radar coverage (h/t to @DanLindsey77). For additional details on this case, see the VISIT Meteorological Interpretation Blog.

GOES-14 Visible (0.62 µm) images, with surface reports and SPC storm reports of hail (yellow) and wind (cyan) [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-14 Visible (0.62 µm) images, with surface reports and SPC storm reports of hail (yellow) and wind (cyan) [click to play MP4 animation]

A 3-panel comparison of Visible images from GOES-15 and GOES-13 (available at the routine 15-30 minute interval) and GOES-14 (available at 1-minute intervals) is shown below.

GOES-13 (left), GOES-14 (center) and GOES-13 (right) 0.62 um Visible images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-13 (left), GOES-14 (center) and GOES-13 (right) 0.62 um Visible images [click to play MP4 animation]

During the early afternoon hours, the GOES-15 (GOES-West) satellite performed a “North/South Station Keeping maneuver”, during which there was no imaging between 1700-1900 UTC. To help cover for this outage, the GOES-13 (GOES-East) satellite was paced into Full Disk scan mode, which provided only 1 image every 30 minutes. During this time period, the 1-minute imagery from GOES-14 (shown below) was essential to monitor such features as a wildfire burning southeast of Ely, Nevada (station identifier KELY). Two apparent flare-ups of the fire were seen in the areal coverage of the hottest pixels (red) on GOES-14 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images at 1805 UTC and 1807 UTC, which were not captured by the 30-minute GOES-13 imagery. In fact, the 1745 UTC GOES-13 Shortwave Infrared image suggested that there was a brief reduction in the intensity of the fire (indicated by a lack of red pixels), which was not the case according to the 1-minute GOES-14 imagery.

GOES-15 (left panels), GOES-14 (center panels) and GOES-13 (right panels) 0.62 m Visible and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared images [click to play animation]

GOES-15 (left panels), GOES-14 (center panels) and GOES-13 (right panels) 0.62 m Visible (top) and 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared (bottom) images [click to play animation]

Severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall/flooding in the Upper Midwest

July 12th, 2016

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images, with SPC storm reports [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images, with SPC storm reports [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (above; also available as an MP4 movie file) showed a series of mesoscale convective systems that moved across northeastern Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during the 11 July12 July 2016 period. Some of these storms produced tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds (SPC storm reports) in addition to heavy rainfall, with as much as 9.00 inches in Minnesota and 9.80 inches in Wisconsin (NWS Duluth storm summary). Several highways were closed due to flooding and/or washout, including a portion of Interstate 35 in Minnesota (interstates and highways are plotted in violet on the images).

A sequence of Infrared images from Terra/Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm) (below) showed greater detail in the storm-top temperature structure at various times during the event.

Infrared images from Terra/Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm) [click to play animation]

Infrared images from Terra/Aqua MODIS (11.0 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm) [click to play animation]

===== 19 July Update =====

Comparison of before (09 July) and after (12 July through 19 July) Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images [click to enlarge]

Comparison of before (09 July) and after (12 July through 19 July) Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color images [click to enlarge]

A comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS true-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from before the event (09 July) and after the event (12 through 19 July) (above) revealed the large amounts of sediment flowing offshore into the southwestern portion of Lake Superior.

Another comparison of before (09 July) and after (13 through 19 July) true-color RGB images from Terra and Aqua MODIS is shown below.

Comparison of before (09 July) and after (13 through 19 July) Terra/Aqua MODIS true-color images [click to enlarge]

Comparison of before (09 July) and after (13 July through 19 July) Terra/Aqua MODIS true-color images [click to enlarge]

A toggle between a Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image and the corresponding MODIS Sea Surface Temperature (SST) product on 16 July (below) showed that the SST values in the sediment-rich nearshore waters were significantly warmer (middle 60s F, red enhancement) than those found closer to the center of Lake Superior (middle 40s F, cyan enhancement).

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image and Sea Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image and Sea Surface Temperature product [click to enlarge]