Ice storm in southeastern Kansas and southern Missouri

February 13th, 2008 |

MODIS visible + snow/ice images (Animated GIF)

A significant ice storm affected parts of extreme southeastern Kansas and southern Missouri on 1112 February 2008, leaving an accrual of ice more than 1 inch thick in parts of Missouri. AWIPS images of the visible and 1.6µm near-IR “snow/ice” channels (above) revealed the extent of the coverage of snow and ice that remained a day later on 13 February 2008. Note the very dark signal on the snow/ice channel image in Kansas/Missouri — even though there was much less snow cover there (1-5 inches) compared to areas farther north in eastern Iowa (where there was as much as 12-17 inches of snow on the ground), the fact that much of the affected portions of southeastern Kansas and southern Missouri were also coated with a thick layer of ice made that region exhibit a much stronger (and therefore darker) “snow/ice absorption signal”. In contrast to the darker snow/ice cover, supercooled water droplet clouds appear much brighter on the MODIS snow/ice channel image.

A slightly closer view using AWIPS images of the MODIS Land Surface Temperature (LST) and MODIS snow/ice channel images (below) showed that LST values were about 10º F colder (darker green enhancement) in the swath of snow/ice compared to the surrounding bare ground areas. Note that the “cloud mask” employed by the LST product does tend to produce some false cloud features (black pixels) in portions of the image where large gradients exist (for example, along the northern edge of the snow/ice swath).

MODIS land surface temperature + snow/ice images (Animated GIF)

A MODIS true color image of the area (below, viewed using Google Earth) shows that the snow/ice storm affected a good deal of the Interstate 44 corridor in southern Missouri (between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Saint Louis, Missouri).

MODIS true color image (Google Earth)

Ice in southern Lake Michigan

February 13th, 2008 |

MODIS true color images (Animated GIF)

A comparison of Terra and Aqua MODIS true color images on 13 February 2008 (above) shows that thick ice had formed along the nearshore waters of southwestern Lake Michigan; cold arctic air over the region a few days earlier (the daily maximum/minimum temperatures at Chicago O’Hare on 10 February were +1ºF/-4ºF) led to an increase in thickness and areal coverage of lake ice along the coasts of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. The times of the 2 MODIS images above were about 111 minutes apart — Terra at 17:29 UTC (11:29am local time) Aqua at 19:10 UTC (1:10pm local time) — and they reveal that large segments of the lake ice were drifting eastward during that short time interval. Note the bright white appearance of the land surfaces, due to widespread deep snow cover (which ranged from about 5-6 inches in the Chicago metro area to 24 inches at Janesville in southern Wisconsin). Slightly darker portions of the visible image are due to a higher density of trees (especially in urban areas, and also along river valleys) — a very low tree density exists in the majority of this particular region due to agricultural land use in the rural areas.

Surface METAR and buoy data plotted on an AWIPS image combination of the MODIS visible channel + the MODIS Sea Surface Temperature (SST) product (below) indicated that surface winds were west-southwesterly at around 10 knots during that time, no doubt aiding the eastward drift of the lake ice; SST values in the ice-free waters of southern Lake Michigan were quite cold, ranging from 33º to 39º F (dark blue to light blue enhancement).

MODIS visible + sea surface temperature image