Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

September 14th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface wind gusts in knots [click to play MP4 animation]

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at 1115 UTC (7:15 am EDT) with estimated maximum winds of 78 knots (90 mph) and a minimum central pressure estimate of 958 hPa (28.29″). Overlapping GOES-16 (GOES-East) Mesoscale Domain Sectors provided images every 30 seconds — “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the storm as it slowly moved inland after sunrise. A peak wind gust of 105 mph was recorded at Wilmington NC (which is located at the center of the GOES-16 images); in northeastern North Carolina, winds gusted to 105 mph at Fort Macon and 112 mph at the New River Inlet Buoy.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly plots of wind gusts [click to play MP4 animation]

The MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below) showed abundant moisture associated with Florence moving inland during the 48-hour period ending at 23 UTC on 14 September.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

Toggles between Visible and Infrared Window images from Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS are shown below.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images at 1620 UTC [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images at 1801 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1835 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1835 UTC [click to enlarge]

Over the western Atlantic Ocean, strong winds associated with Florence created large waves which induced upwelling of colder water from below the ocean surface, as seen in Ocean Heat Content data (below).

Ocean Heat Content data from 14 September [click to enlarge]

Ocean Heat Content data from 14 September [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Florence continues to approach the southeastern US

September 11th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

Hurricane Florence maintained Category 4 intensity on the morning of 11 September 2018 — and 1-minute (initially 30-second, until 1345 UTC) Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed improving eye structure after the tropical cyclone completed an eyewall replacement cycle during the preceding nighttime hours (MIMIC TC). A distinct pattern of transverse banding was also evident within the northern semicircle of Florence on Infrared imagery.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

DMSP-18 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) imagery from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site (below) showed a large eye at 1015 UTC, and also at 1103 UTC.

DMSP-18 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and GOES-16

DMSP-18 SSMIS Microwave (85 GHz) and GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images at 1015 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images with Derived Motion Winds (below) revealed that a well-defined high altitude outflow channel had developed northwest of Florence, helping the storm to maintain its intensity.

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with Derived Motion Winds [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with Derived Motion Winds [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute GOES-16 True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images (courtesy of Kathy Strabala, CIMSS; details) are shown below. A larger-scale RGB animation beginning at sunrise is available here (courtesy of Rick Kohrs, SSEC).

GOES-16 natural color RGB images [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute GOES-16 True Color RGB images, 1330-1440 UTC [click to play MP4 animation]

Taking a closer look at the center of Florence later in the day, 1-minute GOES-16 data (below) showed mesovortices within the eye on Visible imagery, along with a narrow radial band of colder (darker red) cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures about 30-50 miles from the inner edge of the eyewall.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Viisible (0.64 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

===== 12 September Update =====

Florence remained at Category 4 intensity early in the day as it continued its northwestward motion toward the southeast coast of the US on 12 September. A 20-hour period of 1-minute GOES-16 Infrared images (from 0000-2015 UTC) is shown below.

1-minute GOES-16

1-minute GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, from 0000-2015 UTC [click to play MP4 animation]

Nighttime toggles between VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 are shown below (courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS). Bright lightning-illuminated cloud areas can be seen on the DNB images distant to the north and northwest of the storm center; with minimal illumination from the Moon (which was in the Waxing Crescent phase, at only 10% of Full), Florence was illuminated primarily via airglow. On the Infrared images, a coarse pattern of transverse banding was evident along the far southern and western periphery of the storm.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band and Infrared Window images [click to enlarge]

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

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band and Infrared Window images [click to enlarge]

NOOA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A sequence of Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared images (below) showed dramatic changes in the cold central dense overcast (CDO) of Florence between 02 and 18 UTC.

Infrared Window images from Terra MODIS (11.0 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm) [click to enlarge]

Infrared Window images from Terra MODIS (11.0 µm) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (11.45 µm) [click to enlarge]

During the morning hours, 1-minute GOES-16 Visible and Infrared images (below) once again displayed a distinct eye and eyewall structure, with surface mesovortices evident within the eye. A curious linear standing wave — extending radially outward to the northeast of the storm center — developed from about 13-15 UTC (best seen on Infrared images).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

ASCAT surface scatterometer winds from Metop-A (below) were as strong as 76 knots just northeast of the eye at 1450 UTC.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) image with Metop-A ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

A stereoscopic animation using GOES-16 and GOES-17 imagery is shown below — to view in three dimensions, cross your eyes until 3 equal images are apparent, then focus on the image in the center. *Note: GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational*

Stereoscopic animation using GOES-16 and GOES-17

Stereoscopic animation using GOES-16 and GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) imagery [click to play animation]

During the afternoon hours, GOES-16 Visible and Infrared images (below) showed that the eye presentation  was beginning to deteriorate as Florence weakened to Category 3 intensity by 21 UTC.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window {10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

The MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product (below) indicated that high TPW values associated with Florence began to move inland along the US East Coast by the end of the day.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

Severe thunderstorms in Wisconsin

August 28th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with SPC storm reports plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

Thunderstorms produced a variety of severe weather (SPC storm reports) as they moved eastward across the Upper Midwest on 28 August 2018. 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the development and progression of the severe convection across central Wisconsin.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with SPC storm reports plotted in cyan [click to play MP4 animation]

Toggles beween Visible and Infrared images from Terra MODIS (1715 UTC), Aqua MODIS (1855 UTC) and Suomi NPP VIIRS (1945 UTC) are shown below.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to enlarge]

These storms also brought heavy rain, which resulted in flooding that closed Interstate 90/94 near Mauston (about halfway between Madison and Fort McCoy) — that area received about 10 inches of rainfall in a 48-hour period (below). Amtrack trains were also forced to stop overnight near that same area, due to flooded tracks.

24-hour precipitation ending at 12 UTC on 28 August and 29 August [click to enlarge]

24-hour precipitation ending at 12 UTC on 28 August and 29 August [click to enlarge]

Flash flooding in southern Wisconsin

August 20th, 2018 |

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed multiple clusters of convection which developed across far southern Wisconsin during the late afternoon and early evening hours on 20 August 2018, producing very heavy rainfall and flash flooding (with at least one fatality) that was focused in western Dane County (CoCoRaHS | AHPS). As much as 15.33 inches of rain was reported in Cross Plains (Local Storm Reports). which set a new record for 24-hour precipitation in the state of Wisconsin (the old record was 11.72 inches at Mellen in northern Wisconsin on 24 June 1946). Animations of radar base reflectivity and storm total precipitation (courtesy of Pete Pokrandt, UW-AOS) showed that the combination of slow overall motion — and a pivoting of precipitation bands, due to weak flow aloft within a deformation zone (300 hPa analysis) —  and cell mergers played a role in producing the heavy rainfall. There was also an EF-0 tornado at Delavan (NWS Milwaukee summary).

The corresponding 1-minute GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) imagery (below) showed that cloud-top brightness temperatures were generally in the -50º to -60ºC range with these initial areas of convection.

GOES-16 Infrared images [click to play animation]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animation]

A longer Infrared animation (below) with a different color enhancement (adapted for winter convection) better emphasized the colder cloud tops as convective development persisted into the subsequent overnight hours. Note the absence surface observations from Middleton KC29 after 03 UTC or 10 pm CDT — this was due to an extended power outage to that area and other parts of western Dane County.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images (below) revealed the large circulation associated with an occluded low (surface analyses) over the lower Missouri River valley.

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

The GOES-16 Total Precipitable Water derived product (below) showed that values of 1.3 to 1.5 inches were being advected northward toward the area.

Composite of GOES-16 Water Vapor (6.9 µm) imagery and Total Precipitable Water product [click to play MP4 animation]

Composite of GOES-16 Water Vapor (6.9 µm) imagery and Total Precipitable Water derived product [click to play MP4 animation]

With widespread cloudiness prevailing across much of the Upper Midwest, the CIMSS All-Sky Total Precipitable Water product (below) was helpful to better track the transport of moisture into the region — TPW values of 40-43 mm (1.6-1.7 inches) were seen feeding into southern Wisconsin within a TROWAL airstream around the northern edge of the occluded low pressure system (WPC discussion). The All-Sky products blend GOES ABI clear-sky retrievals with GFS background fields in cloudy regions; these products have been evaluated by the NWS Hazardous Weather Testbed (see here).

GOES-16 AllSky Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 All-Sky Total Precipitable Water product [click to play animation | MP4]

The Aqua MODIS Total Precipitable Water product at 1943 UTC (below) showed TPW values of 40-45 mm (1.6-1.8 inch) on either side of the frontal boundary in northern Illinois.

Aqua MODIS Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Total Precipitable Water product [click to enlarge]

One example of the hydrologic impact of the heavy rain was seen at the Pheasant Branch Creek USGS gauge (map), where nearly 11 inches of rainfall were recorded. A dramatic time-lapse video showed the rise of the normally-small creek as it inundated the adjacent multi-use path on 21 August.

Pheasant Branch Creek flows into the northwest corner of Lake Mendota, which crested at 852.3 feet on the morning of 22 August. This was the third highest lake elevation on record — and the highest level on record for so late in the calendar year. Portions of the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus adjacent to the lake experienced some impacts due to the high water, as shown on the map below. There were also several road closures in Madison due to high water.

Map of flood impacts for portions of the UW-Madison campus adjacent to the southwestern shoreline of Lake Mendota [click to enlarge]

Map of flood impacts for portions of the UW-Madison campus adjacent to the southwestern shoreline of Lake Mendota [click to enlarge]

Farther downstream on the Yahara River chain of lakes, Lake Waubesa reached its 100-year flood level on 22 August.