Explosive cyclogenesis off the East Coast of the United States

January 4th, 2018 |

GOES-16 Clean Window (10.3 µm) Imagery, 0102-1337 UTC on 4 January 2018 (Click to animate)

A strong extratropical cyclone that deposited snow in the deep south developed explosively during the early morning hours of 4 January 2018. The GOES-16 Clean Window (10.3 µm) animation, above, from 0102 – 1337 UTC on 4 January, brackets the explosive development: from 993 hPa at 0000 UTC to 968 mb at 0900 UTC, a strengthening that easily meets the “Bomb” criteria set forth by Sanders and Gyakum (1980). The Clean Window animation shows the strong surface circulation with well-defined conveyor belts. Convection develops at the leading edge of the dry slot that is approaching southern New England at the end of the animation. The Low-Level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) animation for the same time, below, suggests very strong descent behind the storm, where brightness temperatures warmer than -10º C (orange in the enhancement used) are widespread.

GOES-16 Low-Level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) Infrared Imagery, 0102-1332 UTC on 4 January 2018 (Click to animate)

This storm can also be viewed using Red-Green-Blue composites (in addition to the single-channel animations shown above). The Airmass RGB, below, combines the Split Water Vapor Difference (6.2 µm – 7.3 µm) as Red, Split Ozone (9.6 µm – 10.3 µm) as Green, and Upper level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) as Blue. (Other storms analyzed with the Airmass RGB can be seen here, here, and here). The strong red signal in the Airmass RGB south of the storm suggests very strong sinking motion.

GOES-16 AirMass RGB Product, 0102-1332 UTC (Click to animate)

ASCAT Scatterometer winds over the system at 0205 UTC showed an elongated surface circulation with multiple observations of winds exceeding 50 knots (in red), and a large region (in yellow) of winds exceeding 35 knots.

GOES-16 ABI Clean Window (10.3 µm) and ASCAT Scatterometer winds, 0205 UTC on 4 January 2018 (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 ABI Red Visible (0.64 µm) and ASCAT Scatterometer winds, 1520 UTC on 4 January 2018 (Click to enlarge)

The 1520 UTC ASCAT pass, above, sampled half the storm, and hurricane-force winds were indicated.

The snow that was deposited in the Deep South by this storm (also discussed here) persisted through a cold night and was visible in the GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) imagery, below. Highly reflective snow can be difficult in a still image to distinguish from clouds — but the Snow/Ice Channel on GOES-16 (1.61 µm) detects energy at a wavelength that is strongly absorbed by ice. Thus, snow (and ice) on the ground (or in clouds), has a different representation. (Here are toggles between the two images, with and without a map). The snow cover over coastal Georgia, South and North Carolina appears dark in the Snow/Ice channel because the snow is absorbing, not reflecting, the 1.61 µm radiation.  It is noteworthy that the 1.61 µm image is especially dark over far southeastern Georgia northeastward along the immediate coastline of South Carolina.  These are regions where freezing rain and sleet fell, versus predominantly snow to the north and west (as also noted here; The National Weather Service in Tallahassee tweeted out an ice/snow accumulation map that also agrees with the 1.61 µm image).  Ice in the cirrus clouds northeast of North Carolina is also apparent in the Snow/Ice 1.61 µm imagery.

GOES-16 Band 2 Visible (0.64 µm) Imagery, 1412 UTC on 4 January 2018 (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 ABI Band 5 Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) Imagery, 1412 UTC on 4 January 2018 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP overflew the storm shortly after midnight on 4 January; Day Night band visible imagery (courtesy Kathleen Strabala, CIMSS), below, shows a well-developed cyclone covering much of the northeast Atlantic Ocean. Snow cover is apparent over the deep south of the United States.

Suomi NPP Day Night Band Visible (0.7 µm) Imagery, 0614 UTC on 4 January 2018 (Click to enlarge)

(Added, 5 January 2018: This website shows a during-the-day CIMSS True Color Image animation of the storm on 4 January 2018. Animation courtesy Dave Stettner, CIMSS).

Northeast US heavy rain and high wind event

October 30th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with hourly precipitation type symbols plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with hourly precipitation type symbols plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

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

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images with hourly surface weather symbols plotted in red (above) showed the large-scale evolution of a storm system that deepened rapidly as it moved across the Northeast US during the 29 October30 October 2017 period (surface analyses). This storm produced widespread high winds and heavy rain (WPC storm summary | NWS Boston PNS | NWS Caribou PNS). Record low sea level pressures for the month of October were set in New York at Albany (977.7 hPa) and Fort Drum (977.5 hPa), and in Massachusetts at Nantucket (982.6 hPa) — a map of the minimum sea level pressures from the New York State Mesonet can be seen here.

Closer views of the Northeast US using images from the GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm), Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) and Low-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) bands are shown below, with hourly surface wind gusts (knots) plotted in red. The high winds caused extensive damage to trees and power lines, leading to power outages in some areas — and also contributed to coastal storm surge.

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (in knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (in knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (in knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (in knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Lower-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (in knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Lower-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts (in knots) plotted in red [click to play MP4 animation]

One interesting aspect of this rapidly-deepening storm was the absorption/merging of the northward-moving remnants of Tropical Storm Philippe (storm track), which was shown by the CIMSS 850 hPa relative vorticity product (below).

850 hPa Relative Vorticity product [click to play animation]

850 hPa Relative Vorticity product [click to play animation]

Additional details of this event can be found on the Satellite Liaison Blog.

Hurricane Maria downgraded to a Tropical Storm off the East Coast

September 26th, 2017 |
GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) image, with Deep-Layer Wind Shear product [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) image, with Deep-Layer Wind Shear product [click to enlarge]

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

After its final 2 days of northward motion as a Category 1 storm well southeast of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Hurricane Maria was downgraded to a Tropical Storm at 2100 UTC on 26 September 2017. A comparison of the 2345 UTC September GOES-13 (GOES-East) Infrared Window (10.7 µm) image and an overlay of the 00 UTC 27 September Deep-Layer Wind Shear product (above) showed that Maria had been moving northward into an environment of increasing northeasterly shear, aiding the decrease of storm organization and intensity. However, due to the large size of the strong wind field associated with Maria, surface wind gusts as high as 59 mph were reported along the Outer Banks.

The effect of increasing wind shear was obvious in the satellite presentation of GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) — the low-level circulation center (LLCC) was becoming more exposed with time, while deep convection remained southeast of the LLCC.

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

The entrainment of dry air into the northern semicircle of Maria was evident as a warming/drying trend depicted on GOES-16 Lower-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images (below).

GOES-16 Lower-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Lower-level (7.3 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Upper-level (6.2 µm) Water Vapor images [click to play MP4 animation]

Tropical Storm Don

July 18th, 2017 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm, top) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

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

On 17 July Tropical Storm Don became the 4th named storm of the 2017 North Atlantic Basin season. The satellite presentation improved somewhat on 18 July, with GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) displaying a few brief convective bursts (some of which exhibited cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures of -80º C  and colder).

A GOES-13 (GOES-East) Infrared Window (10.7 µm) image at 1845 UTC  with overlays of the Tropical Overshooting Tops and  Deep-Layer Winds products from the CIMSS Tropical Cyclones site is shown below.

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images, with Tropical Overshooting Top and Deep-Layer Wind Shear products [click to enlarge]

GOES-13 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images, with Tropical Overshooting Top and Deep-Layer Wind Shear products [click to enlarge]