Tornado in Maryland

July 24th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with surface station identifiers plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with surface station identifiers plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

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

An isolated thunderstorm that was moving eastward across Maryland just after Midnight on 24 July 2017 intensified as it crossed Chesapeake Bay, eventually producing a waterspout which moved onshore near Bay City (just southwest of Stevensville/Bay Bridge Airport, station identifier KW29) — this tornado was responsible for 1 injury and EF2-rated damage (NWS Mount Holly PNS  | SPC storm reports). GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above; also available as a 23-Mbyte animated GIF) showed that there were 3 distinct “pulses” when cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures cooled to the -71 to -75º C range (lighter gray pixels embedded within dark black regions) before the storm produced the tornado at 0529 UTC. Since one of the default GOES-16 Mesoscale Sectors was providing coverage over the eastern US, imagery was available at 1-minute intervals.

A comparison of 1-minute GOES-16 vs 15-minute GOES-13 (GOES-East) Infrared Window images (below; also available as a 17-Mbyte animated GIF) provided a convincing demonstration of the value of more frequent image scan intervals for monitoring severe convection. The improved spatial resolution of GOES-16 Infrared imagery — 2 km at satellite sub-point, vs 4 km for GOES-13 — also allowed for a more accurate depiction of cloud-top IR brightness temperature patterns and values.

1-minute GOES-16 (10.3 µm, left) vs 15-minute GOES-13 (10.7 µm, right) Infrared Window images [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute GOES-16 (10.3 µm, left) vs 15-minute GOES-13 (10.7 µm, right) Infrared Window images [click to play MP4 animation]