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