Severe thunderstorms in Kansas and Oklahoma

June 23rd, 2018 |

GOES-16

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

GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) showed the development of a number of Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) features across the southern Plains (with a focus on Kansas and Oklahoma) after sunset on 23 June 2018. A Mesoscale Domain Sector was positioned over that region, providing images at 1-minute intervals; SPC storm reports are plotted in cyan.

A toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0748 UTC or 2:48 am CDT (below) showed two MCS features — one with its core in north-central Oklahoma and another over eastern Oklahoma. Features exhibited by the northern storm included numerous bright lightning streaks on the Day/Night Band image, with one cluster located over an area of damaging wind reports. The minimum cloud-top infrared brightness temperature associated with this storm was -86ºC (violet enhancement). Over Kansas, packets of gravity waves could be seen on both images, propagating radially outward from the storm core along the cloud top. The combination of lightning and damaging winds (which downed power poles) led to power outages that lasted into the next evening (map | provider listing) across parts of Oklahoma.

With the MCS over eastern Oklahoma, a large cluster of bright lightning streaks was co-located with the overshooting top (which had a minimum cloud-top infrared brightness temperature of -80ºC) — and a distinct above-anvil cirrus plume could be seen flowing east-southeastward from the overshooting top.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with SPC storm reports of damaging winds plotted in cyan [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with SPC storm reports of damaging winds plotted in cyan [click to enlarge]

About 48 minutes later, a 0836 UTC overpass of the NOAA-20 satellite provided similar VIIRS Day/Night Band and Infrared Window images (below). However, in that relatively short amount of time the Moon had moved to a position low on the western horizon, providing much less illumination of the cloud tops for the Day/Night Band image. Another striking difference was the presence of long black or dark gray “post-saturation recovery streaks” downstream of bright clusters of lightning in north-central Oklahoma — as the VIIRS instrument scanned across-track (from northwest to southeast), the Day/Night Band optical detectors became saturated by the brightness of the intense lightning activity. The minimum cloud-top infrared brightness temperature in eastern Oklahoma was -86ºC.

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

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

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