Mesoscale Convective System in South Dakota

August 27th, 2015 |

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A large Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) developed over western South Dakota late in the day on 26 August 2015, moving eastward across the state and producing wind gusts as high as 79 mph (SPC storm reports). A nighttime comparison of Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared (11.45 µm) and Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images at 0842 UTC (above) showed the large cloud shield with cloud-top IR brightness temperatures as cold as -74º C at the central cluster of overshooting tops; bright white pixels on the Day/Night Band image were portions of the cloud illuminated by intense lightning activity. Various types of waves were also seen in the VIIRS imagery: (1) concentric gravity waves propagating outward from the central cluster of overshooting tops, (2) transverse banding emanating radially outward in portions of the northern semicircle of the MCS, and (3) a large arc of waves moving westward away from the back edge of the storm.

Regarding the large arc of waves along the back edge of the MCS, GOES-13 (GOES-East) water vapor (6.5 µm) images (below; click image to play animation) revealed a signal of strong subsidence (warming/drying, darker blue color enhancement) as the westward-expanding cloud mass was acting as an obstacle to the prevailing westerly winds coming from Wyoming and Montana.

GOES-13 water vapor (6.5 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 water vapor (6.5 µm) images [click to play animation]