Ground blizzard conditions across the north-central US

January 19th, 2013 |
Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and False-color Red/Green/Blue images

Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and False-color Red/Green/Blue images

A comparison of AWIPS images of Suomi NPP VIIRS 0.64 µm visible channel and the corresponding False-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) composite (above) showed a number of horizontal convective roll clouds over parts of eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota that had formed in response to strong northwesterly winds in the wake of an arctic cold frontal passage on 19 January 2013. On the false-color image, snow cover appeared as shades of red, bare ground was cyan, and cloud features were varying shades of white.

McIDAS images of GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel data (below; click image to play animation) showed the development and evolution of the long horizontal convective roll clouds. Although new snowfall amounts on this day were very light (generally 0.5 inch or less), the strong northwesterly winds — with wind gusts as high as 61 mph in northwestern Minnesota, 59 mph in North Dakota, and 53 mph in northeastern South Dakota — created significant blowing snow that was reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less across parts of the region. The blowing snow (along with some brief, heavy snow showers) tended to be more focused and intense in the vicinity of the horizontal convective rolls and their associated cloud streamers.

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)