Florence produces record rainfall in North Carolina and South Carolina

September 17th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly precipitation type symbols plotted in yellow and SPC storm reports plotted in cyan, 13-17 September [click to play MP4 animation]

After Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina during the morning hours on 14 September, it moved very slowly (at times only 2-3 mph) southwestward into South Carolina during 15-16 September (surface analyses). Prolonged heavy rainfall resulted (WPC summary), with new state records (see below) for precipitation from a tropical cyclone being set in North Carolina (35.93 inches) and South Carolina (23.63 inches). GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images every 5 minutes during the 4-day period of 13-16 September (above) showed the evolution of banding and the development of new convection that produced the heavy rainfall — widespread flooding along with strong winds caused power outages across portions of the 2 states (NC | SC), and closed sections of Interstates 95 and 40. Note that the power outages caused extended dropouts of the plotted surface reports — especially in eastern North Carolina; reports were missing when the gray 4-letter station identifiers disappeared — even though many of those sites were likely experiencing heavy rainfall during those dropout times.

Florence also spawned a few tornadoes on 14, 15 and 16 September — SPC storm reports are plotted in cyan on the GOES-16 Infrared images.

Hourly images of the MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below) showed tropical moisture associated with Florence as it moved inland during the 13-17 September period.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product, 13-17 September [click to play animation | MP4]

Animations of plots of rawinsonde data from the coastal sites of Newport/Morehead City, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina (below) revealed the increase in deep tropical moisture from 13-16 September — Total Precipitable Water values were as high as 68.6 mm (2.70 inches) at Newport and 67.8 mm (2.67 inches) at Charleston.

Daily plots of rawinsonde data from Newport/Morehead City, North Carolina [click to enlarge]

Daily plots of rawinsonde data from Newport/Morehead City, North Carolina [click to enlarge]

Daily plots of rawinsonde data from Charleston, South Carolina [click to enlarge]

Daily plots of rawinsonde data from Charleston, South Carolina [click to enlarge]

As the remnants of Florence moved from Kentucky to West Virginia during the daylight hours of 17 September, numerous tornadoes occurred in central Virginia (SPC storm reports | NWS Wakefield summary). 1-minute GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the development of thunderstorms which produced these tornadoes.

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm, left) and "Clean" Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to play MP4 animation]

 

===== 18 September Update =====

Before/after (26 August/18 September) Terra MODIS False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS False Color RGB images, 26 August vs. 18 September [click to enlarge]

A comparison of before/after (26 August/18 September) Terra MODIS False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the MODIS Today site (above) showed areas of inland flooding (increasing water coverage appears as darker shades of blue) in the wake of Florence across far southeastern North Carolina and far northeastern South Carolina.

Looking slightly to the south, a similar before/after comparison of Terra MODIS True Color RGB images (below) revealed areas of sediment runoff into the Atlantic Ocean.

Terra MODIS True Color RGB images, 26 August vs. 18 September [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color RGB images, 26 August vs. 18 September [click to enlarge]

Upper-tropospheric gravity waves in the wake of a decaying MCS

September 1st, 2018 |

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A series of large Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCS) developed across Nebraska and Iowa during the nighttime hours before sunrise on 01 September 2018, which produced large hail and damaging winds (SPC storm reports). Storm-scale anticyclonic outflow aloft around the periphery of the decaying convection acted as a short-term barrier to the upstream southwesterly winds within the middle/upper troposphere, creating quasi-stationary gravity waves along their rear (westward) edges which persisted for several hours. These waves were most evident over eastern Nebraska and northeastern Kansas on GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images (above).

6.2 µm Water Vapor images with plots of GOES-16 Derived Motion Winds (below) intermittently showed these high-altitude anticyclonic winds along the western edges of decaying convection — for example, at 0842 UTC, 0922 UTC, 0957 UTC, 1127 UTC, 1212 UTC and 1312 UTC.

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of Derived Motion Winds [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of Derived Motion Winds [click to play MP4 animation]

The quasi-stationary waves appeared to coincide with a few pilot reports of high-altitude turbulence: Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) was mentioned over northeastern Kansas at 37,000 feet and 39,000 feet, and “mountain wave action” was reported over southeastern Nebraska at 43,000 feet.

Pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

Pilot reports of turbulence [click to play animation]

Higher resolution views of the convection were provided by VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP at 0755 UTC and NOAA-20 at 0845 UTC (below). With ample illumination from the Moon (in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 67% of Full), the “visible image at night” capability of the Day/Night Band was well-demonstrated. The coldest cloud-top infrared brightness temperature associated with the MCS in western Iowa was -84ºC — and the effect of a similar “blocking wave” along the western/northwestern edge of that storm could be seen, which was effectively eroding the approaching high-altitude anvil cloud material from the Nebraska MCS. Note that the 0845 UTC NOAA-20 VIIRS images are incorrectly labeled as Suomi NPP.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A Nebraska thunderstorm and a Wyoming wildfire, as viewed by GOES-15, GOES-17 and GOES-16

August 29th, 2018 |
Visible images from GOES-15 (0.63 µm, left), GOES-17 (0.64 µm, center) and GOES-16 (0.64 µm, right), with SPC storm reports plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

Visible images from GOES-15 (0.63 µm, left), GOES-17 (0.64 µm, center) and GOES-16 (0.64 µm, right), with SPC storm reports plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

A comparison of Visible images from GOES-15 (GOES-West), GOES-17 and GOES-16 (GOES-East) (above) showed an isolated thunderstorm that developed in the Nebraska Panhandle late in the day on 29 August 2018. The storm produced hail (SPC storm reports), and also exhibited an Above Anvil Cirrus Plume. The images are displayed in the native projection of each satellite, with no re-mapping.

One other feature that was seen north of the thunderstorm was smoke which was being transported eastward from the Britania Mountain Fire in southeastern Wyoming. The smoke was more apparent on the GOES-17 and GOES-16 images as forward scattering increased toward sunset.

Shortwave Infrared imagery from the 3 satellites revealed important differences affecting fire detection: namely spatial resolution and viewing angle. The 3.9 µm detector on the GOES-15 Imager has a spatial resolution of 4 km (at satellite sub-point), compared to 2 km for the GOES-16/17 ABI. Given that the fire was burning in rugged mountain terrain, the view angle from each satellite had an impact on the resulting bire brightness temperature values. For example, the first indication of very hot (red-enhanced) pixels was at 1527 UTC from GOES-16/17, vs 1715 UTC from GOES-15; at the end of the day, the very hot fire pixels were no longer seen with GOES-15 after 2300 UTC, but continued to show up in GOES-17 imagery until 0042 UTC and in GOES-16 imagery until 0122 UTC.

Shortwave Infrared images from GOES-15 (3.9 µm, left), GOES-17 (3.9 µm, center) and GOES-16 (3.9 µm, right) [click to play animation | MP4]

Shortwave Infrared images from GOES-15 (3.9 µm, left), GOES-17 (3.9 µm, center) and GOES-16 (3.9 µm, right) [click to play animation | MP4]

Severe thunderstorms in Wisconsin

August 28th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with SPC storm reports plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

Thunderstorms produced a variety of severe weather (SPC storm reports) as they moved eastward across the Upper Midwest on 28 August 2018. 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the development and progression of the severe convection across central Wisconsin.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with SPC storm reports plotted in cyan [click to play MP4 animation]

Toggles beween Visible and Infrared images from Terra MODIS (1715 UTC), Aqua MODIS (1855 UTC) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (1945 UTC) are shown below.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

These storms also brought heavy rain, which resulted in flooding that closed Interstate 90/94 near Mauston (about halfway between Madison and Fort McCoy) — that area received about 10 inches of rainfall in a 48-hour period (below). Amtrack trains were also forced to stop overnight near that same area, due to flooded tracks.

24-hour precipitation ending at 12 UTC on 28 August and 29 August [click to enlarge]

24-hour precipitation ending at 12 UTC on 28 August and 29 August [click to enlarge]