Interesting Bore Features in Lake Superior Stratus

July 10th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) Imagery [click to play animated gif]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) Imagery [click to play animated gif]

GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing

High Dewpoints in mid-Summer in the Upper Midwest often leads to stratus and fog over Lake Superior. Such was the case on 10 July 2017, with dewpoints in the 50s and 60s F (GOES-16 Visible images with surface observations) and mid-lake water temperatures as cold as 40º F (buoy reports | MODIS SST values) — and very interesting waves were observed in the stratus deck. They had the appearance of Atmospheric Bores: parallel lines of clouds moving in one direction. It is unusual to have Bores moving in different directions at the same time, however.

One possible explanation for the differing motion of these undular bores could be internal reflection off the rugged northern and southern shorelines of Lake Superior.

The RTMA surface wind analyses at 17 UTC and 19 UTC, below, showed complex flow patterns over the lake — however, the surface wind flow did not always correspond well to the motion of the undular bores.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image, with RTMA surface winds [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image, with RTMA surface winds [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image, with RTMA surface winds [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image, with RTMA surface winds [click to enlarge]

(Thanks to TJ Turnage, the SOO in Grand Rapids MI, for alerting us to this mesmerizing event).

Using GOES-16 Baseline Products to anticipate where heavy rain might fall

July 10th, 2017 |

GOES-16 10.3 µm “Clean Window” Superimposed on the Clear-Sky Baseline Total Precipitable Water Product, 0107 – 1337 UTC on 10 July (Click to play large animated gif)

GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational and are undergoing testing

Very heavy rain (4-5″) fell over parts of southwestern Wisconsin early on 10 July 2017 as a Mesoscale Convective System traversed the Upper Midwest (0831 UTC VIIRS Infrared vs Day/Night Band). The animation above blends the Clean Window (10.3 µm) from GOES-16 with the Total Precipitable Water Baseline Product (This product is available online — with a time delay — here). Note that the largest values of Precipitable Water are diagnosed to be over southern and western of Wisconsin. Looking at the animation of the 10.3 µm imagery, can you decide where the heaviest rain fell?

A screen capture from this website, below, shows 24-hour precipitation over the Upper Midwest, with a northwest-to-southeast oriented maximum near the northwest-to-southeast gradient of diagnosed total precipitable water field shown in the animation above. (This summary from the National Weather Service in Milwaukee shows accumulated precipitation ending at 0900 Central Time).

The Hazardous Weather Testbed at the Storm Prediction Center evaluates GOES-16 (and other satellites, such as Suomi NPP) products. There have been many instances that noted convection was most intense along the gradient of the moisture (See this summary, for example, or this one.) When GOES-16 Baseline Products indicate a gradient, pay close attention when strong convection develops upstream.

24-hour Precipitation over the Upper Midwest ending at 1200 UTC on 10 July 2017 (Click to enlarge)

Added: One day later, again, convection initiated (and/or persisted) north of the diagnosed Total Precipitable Water maximum over Illinois and Iowa (link), i.e., in the gradient of Total Precipitable Water.