Blowing dust in the Upper Midwest

May 25th, 2021 |

GOES-16 Split Window Difference images, with plots of wind barbs and gusts [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Split Window Difference images, with plots of wind barbs and gusts [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) Split Window Difference images (above) showed widespread strong winds across the Dakotas and northern Minnesota which were responsible for producing plumes of blowing dust (darker shades of gray) — most notably from eastern North Dakota into northwestern Minnesota — on 24 May 2021.

The corresponding GOES-16 Split Window Difference images with plots of surface visibility are shown below — at 23 UTC the visibility dropped to 4 miles at Grand Forks, North Dakota as a dense dust plume moved through that location (where southwesterly winds were gusting to 31 knots at that time).

GOES-16 Split Window Difference images, with plots of surface visibility [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Split Window Difference images, with plots of surface visibility [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color RGB images (above) and Dust RGB images (below) created using Geo2Grid highlighted the more dense plumes of blowing dust — the source region for the more prominent dust plumes appeared to be dry agricultural fields in southeastern North Dakota that had received very little rainfall during the preceding week.

GOES-16 Dust RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

Ground-based lidar data from Grand Forks indicated that the dust was lofted to altitudes of around 10,000 feet.


===== 25 May Update =====

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

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

Strong winds persisted across that same region on 25 May — and GOES-16 Dust RGB images (above) again displayed the subtle signature of blowing dust (light shades of pink/magenta) along the leading edge of cloudiness that was moving eastward into northwestern Minnesota.

GOES-16 True Color RGB images (below) once again showed the hazy signature of blowing dust.

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

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