Strong winds across the Midwest causing blowing dust and gravity waves

May 5th, 2020 |

GOES-16 Dust RGB images, with and without plots of surface observations [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Dust RGB images, with and without plots of surface observations [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) Dust Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images (above) showed a pink plume of blowing dust – created by northwesterly surface  winds gusting as high as 49 knots or 56 mph – moving over parts of Interstates 29, 35 and 70 in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri on 05 May 2020. The visibility briefly dropped to 8 miles at St. Joseph, Missouri (KSTJ) — but was greatly reduced along portions of Interstate 29 in Nebraska/Iowa.


GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images (below) revealed north-south oriented gravity waves over the same region. These were either vertically-propagating waves initiated by the strong surface winds, or waves that were forced by decelerating flow in the wake of a lower/middle tropospheric jet streak that was rotating through the Lower Missouri River Valley. Although turbulence AIRMETs had been issued for the area, there were no pilot reports confirming the presence of turbulence.

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor images, with plot of pilot reports of turbulence, AIRMET boundaries, and NAM40 model 850 hPa winds [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with plot of pilot reports of turbulence, AIRMET boundaries, and NAM40 model 850 hPa winds [click to play animation | MP4]

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