Convection and Flooding over northern Wisconsin

June 17th, 2018 |

GOES-16 ABI Clean Window (10.3 µm) Infrared Imagery, 0200-0559 UTC on 17 June 2018 (Click to animate)

Persistent convection over northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and upper Michigan late Saturday (16 June)/early Sunday (17 June) caused significant flooding.  The animation above shows GOES-16 ABI “Clean Window” Infrared Imagery from 0200-0600 UTC on 17 June.  Note the persistence of the cold overshooting tops over western Bayfield County in northwestern Wisconsin! A longer Infrared animation (0110-1200 UTC) which includes hourly plots of precipitation type (yellow) and SPC storm reports of damaging winds (cyan) is available here. 7-day precipitation departures in some areas were 4 to 8 inches above normal for that period (or 600% of normal).

This link from Wisconsin Emergency Management shows aerial pictures of the flood damage. Of note is the break in US Highway 2 to the west of Ashland WI.

The heavy rains also affected runoff into Lake Superior. MODIS imagery, below, from the MODIS Today site (also available from RealEarth: Link), shows considerable offshore flow of sediment on 19 June (a similar image from 18 June is here, with a toggle between the 2 days here).

True-Color Imagery from Aqua MODIS on 19 June 2018 (Click to enlarge)

A Landsat-8 False-Color image, below, showed pockets of flooding (darker blue) adjacent to the Nemadji River in Superior WI on the morning of 19 June — water also cover a portion of US Highway 2/53. The Nemadji River had crested in Superior at a record 29.5 feet on the evening of 17 June (NWS Duluth summary).

Landsat-8 False-Color image (Click to enlarge)

False-Color image from Landsat-8 on 19 June 2018 (Click to enlarge)

============================ Added 22 June ==============================

NOAA’s Hydrometeorological Design Studies Center (Link) created an Exceedance Probability Analysis for this event at 6-hour, 24-hour and 72-hout time spans, available here (from this link). Probabilities suggest this was an exceedingly rare event.

The continuation of sediment flow into Lake Superior could be seen in a series of daily MODIS True-Color images here.

One Response to “Convection and Flooding over northern Wisconsin”

  1. Kris Bedka says:

    and that cold Bayfield overshooting top is persistently injecting cirrus in the stratosphere. Cold temperatures alone are not necessarily a strong indicator of a severe/hazardous storm. That warm cloud shows additional intensity beyond many of the other storms, though several other cells produce “warm exhaust” early in the animation period but the Bayfield is most persistent

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