Strong storm over the Upper Midwest and western Great Lakes

March 16th, 2016 |

GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with surface analyses [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images, with surface analyses [click to play animation]

A strong storm rapidly deepened as it moved northeastward across the Upper Midwest and western Great Lakes on 16 March 2016. GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images (above) showed the evolution of the system as the cloud shield expanded and became more elongated in a west-to-east orientation. On the previous day, this storm produced widespread hail and tornadoes from far eastern Iowa into northern and central Illinois (SPC storm reports).

A closer view of GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images with METAR surface reports (below) revealed the strong winds caused by the tight pressure gradient — a peak wind gust of 61 mph was recorded at Waukesha in southeastern Wisconsin, with multiple power outages across the region caused by wind-related tree damage. Heavy rain (as much as 2-3 inches) produced some minor river flooding in various parts of Wisconsin; across northern Wisconsin, northeastern Minnesota, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan the rain changed to snow, with as much as 18.5 inches accumulating at Redridge, Michigan, 13.0 inches at Lutsen, Minnesota, and 8.0 inches at Poplar and Sand Bay, Wisconsin. The weight of the wet snow was causing tree limbs to fall, with additional power outages being reported.

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-13 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation]

With the strong winds associated with this storm, there were also scattered pilot reports of moderate turbulence across the region, including 2 reports of severe turbulence over southern Wisconsin as seen below.

GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) image, with pilot report of severe turbulence [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) image, with METAR surface reports and a pilot report of severe turbulence [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Water Vapor image, with pilot report of severe turbulence [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Water Vapor image, with METAR surface reports and a pilot report of severe turbulence [click to enlarge]