Tornadoes and damaging winds along a cold front across southeast WisconsinGOES-16 (GOES-East) Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images shown above were centered over southeast Wisconsin during a period when tornadoes and damaging winds (NWS Milwaukee summary) occurred on 12 October 2022. Of note in the Water Vapor imagery was a narrow southwest-to-northeast oriented “warm/dry” (darker shades of blue) feature that appeared to align with the progression of the surface cold front — and many of the tornado and damaging wind reports also occurred in close proximity to the location of this Water Vapor feature as it moved southeastward across the area.
The corresponding GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) include overlays of GLM Flash Extent Density — no satellite-detected lightning activity was seen in this area during the time of the tornado and damaging wind reports.GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) revealed that cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures were not particularly cold in the vicinity of the tornado and wind reports — generally within the -25 to -30ºC range. In fact, the GOES-16 Cloud Top Phase derived product (below) classified most of the clouds near the tornado/wind reports as Mixed Phase (darker shades of green), since they were not cold enough to ensure complete glaciation. Given that these were relatively warm and mostly non-glaciated clouds, GOES-16 Cloud Top Height values near the storm reports were generally fairly low, in the 22,000-26,000 feet range (below). Finally, GOES-16 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images (below) did not display a strong signature of fully-glaciated clouds (darker shades of green) in the direct vicinity of most of the tornado and damaging wind reports.