Developing winter storm over Colorado

March 19th, 2020 |

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 um) images, with hourly plots of surface wind barbs and gusts (knots) [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 um) images, with hourly plots of surface wind barbs and gusts (knots) [click to play animation | MP4]

As a winter storm began to organize over Colorado on 19 March 2020, GOES-16 (GOES-East) Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 um) images (above) showed the developing  middle tropospheric cyclonic circulation across the Colorado/Kansas/Nebraska border area. Peak wind gusts included 60 mph in Colorado and Nebraska, and 62 mph in Kansas (WPC Storm Summary).

As a result of the strong winds, several areas of blowing dust were seen in GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 um), Split Window Difference (10.3-12.3 um) and Dust Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images (below): (1) a well-defined plume that originated in southeastern Colorado and moved northeastward across western Kansas, (2) a smaller plume originating north/northwest of Lamar, Colorado which moved eastward toward the Colorado/Kansas border, (3) a small plume that originated over the burn scar from the 07 March “Beaver Fire” in the Oklahoma Panhandle, and (4) multiple narrow plumes of dust in the wake of a cold front that moved southeastward across the region late in the day (which reduced the surface visiblity to 2 miles in southwestern Kansas).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 um), Split Window Difference (10.3-12.3 um) and Dust RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

A NOAA-20 True Color RGB image as viewed using RealEarth (below) provided a more detailed view of the dust plume north of Lamar, Colorado as well as the longer plume which stretched from southeastern Colorado into western Kansas.

NOAA-20 True Color RGB image at 18:40 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 True Color RGB image at 18:40 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Visible images with plots of GLM Groups (below) revealed a few clusters of lightning associated with convective elements that were likely producing thundersnow across northeastern Colorado and near the Colorado/Nebraska border. Where warmer air was still present near the Colorado/Kansas border, a more longer-lived thunderstorm was producing rainfall at the surface.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 um) images, with GLM Groups plotted in red and hourly surface weather type plotted in yellow [click to play animation | MP4]



===== 20 March Update =====

GOES-16 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

On the following day, GOES-16 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images (above) showed the large swath of fresh snow cover (shades of green) produced by this storm as it moved northeastward across the Upper Midwest. Clouds persisted over much of eastern Colorado, masking the extent of the snow cover there.

===== 21 March Update =====

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image, with and without labels [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image at 1724 UTC, with and without labels [click to enlarge]

On 21 March, a decrease in cloudiness over eastern Colorado allowed much of the snow cover (shades of cyan) to be seen in a swath of 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 False Color imagery as viewed using RealEarth (above). The effects of terrain were evident, with a lack of snow cover seen in areas where downslope flow was prevalent during the winter storm.

Typhoon Bualoi in the West Pacific Ocean

October 22nd, 2019 |

JMA Himawari-8

Himawari-8 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

2.5-minute rapid scan JMA Himawari-8 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.4 µm) images (above) displayed Category 4 Typhoon Bualoi west of the Mariana Islands in the West Pacific Ocean on 22 October 2019. Note the rapid clearing and expansion of the eye after 04 UTC, as the tropical cyclone continued its trend of intensification (ADT | SATCON) while moving over water possessing high values of Sea Surface Temperature and Ocean Heat Content.

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared images during that period when the eye rapidly cleared are shown below; the visible images eventually revealed mesovortices within the eye.

Himawari-8

Himawari-8 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.4 µm, right) images [click to play animation | MP4]

In a toggle between NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1543 UTC (below), note the bright streak on DNB image from lightning activity in the eastern eyewall, along with moonlight side-illumination of some overshooting tops.

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (credit: William Straka, CIMSS) [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (credit: William Straka, CIMSS) [click to enlarge]

Early-season winter storm in the Northern Plains

October 12th, 2019 |

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with hourly surface weather type plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with hourly surface weather type plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

With the approach of an anomalously-deep 500 hPa low, an early-season winter storm produced very heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions across the Northern Plains — particularly in central/eastern North Dakota and southern Manitoba — during the 10 October12 October 2019 period. GOES-16 (GOES-East) Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images (above) showed the long duration of precipitation across that region. Text listings of snowfall totals and wind gusts are available from WPC, NWS Bismarck and NWS Grand Forks (more complete storm summaries: NWS Bismarck | NWS Grand Forks). The highest storm total snowfall amount in far southern Manitoba was 32 inches south of Morten (which reported a snow depth of 30 inches on the morning of 12 October), with 30 inches in central North Dakota at Harvey.

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) displayed the storm during the daylight hours on 10/11/12 October.

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images on 10/11/12 October, with hourly precipitation type plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images on 10/11/12 October, with hourly precipitation type plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

On 11 October, GOES-16 Visible images with an overlay of GLM Flash Extent Density (below) revealed intermittent clusters of lightning activity over northwestern Minnesota, northeastern North Dakota and southern Manitoba — while no surface stations explicitly reported a thunderstorm, NWS Grand Forks received calls from the public about thundersnow. The texture of cloud tops in the Visible imagery also supported the presence of embedded convective elements, which likely enhanced snowfall rates as they pivoted across that area. An animation of GOES-16 Visible imagery with plots of GLM Groups and surface weather type is available here.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with an overlay of GLM Flash Extent Density [click to play animation | MP4]

Note that this lightning-producing convection was occurring near the leading edge of the cyclone’s mid-tropospheric dry slot, as seen in GOES-16 Water Vapor imagery (below).

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm, right) images, with GLM Groups plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm, right) images, with GLM Groups plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

One important aspect of this storm was the formation of a TROugh of Warm air ALoft or TROWAL (SHyMet | Martin, 1998) as the surface low began to enter its occluded phase on 11 October — contours of Equivalent Potential Temperature along the 295 K isentropic surface (below) helped to diagnose the axis of the TROWAL as it curved cyclonically from southwestern Ontario to southern Manitoba and then southward over North Dakota.

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with 295 K equivalent potential temperature contours plotted in yellow and surface fronts plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with 295 K Equivalent Potential Temperature contours plotted in yellow and surface fronts plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

A similar animation with contours of 295 K specific humidity (below) also displayed the orientation of a west-to-east cross section B-B’ (green) across northern Northern Minnesota and northern Minnesota.

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with 295 K Specific Humidity contours plotted in yellow and surface fronts plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with 295 K Specific Humidity contours plotted in yellow and surface fronts plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

The Line B-B’ cross section at 16 UTC (with and without contours of Equivalent Potential Temperature) is shown below. Note the deep column of upward vertical velocity (highlighted by color shading of Omega) centered over Langdon, North Dakota — the moist TROWAL airstream can be seen sloping isentropically upward and westward behind the 3 g/kg Specific Humidity contour, as it approached the region of upward vertical motion. Langdon received 27 inches of snowfall; the prolonged southward passage of the TROWAL over North Dakota likely contributed to this accumulation.

Cross section of RAP40 model fields along Line B-B' at 16 UTC [click to enlarge]

Cross section of RAP40 model fields along Line B-B’ at 16 UTC [click to enlarge]

As the storm was gradually winding down on 12 October, its circulation exhibited a very broad middle-tropospheric signature on GOES-16 Water Vapor imagery (below).

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with surface frontal positions [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with surface frontal positions [click to play animation | MP4]

===== 17 October Update =====

Aqua MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images [click to enlarge]

After the area had already experienced its wettest Fall season on record, additional rainfall and snowmelt from this winter storm exacerbated ongoing flooding problems. A comparison of 250-meter resolution Aqua MODIS True Color and False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images (source) centered over northeastern North Dakota (above) revealed flooding along the Red River (which flows northward along the North Dakota / Minnesota border) — water appears as darker shades of blue in the False Color image.

A Suomi NPP VIIRS Flood Product depicting floodwater fractions in the Red River Valley north of Grand Forks ND (as visualized using RealEarth) is shown below.

Suomi NPP VIIRS Flood Product, depicting floodwater fractions in the Red River Valley north of Grand Forks, ND [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Flood Product, depicting floodwater fractions in the Red River Valley north of Grand Forks, ND [click to enlarge]

===== 18 October Update =====

GOES-16 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

On 18 October — 1 week after the height of the historic blizzard — GOES-16 Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images showed significant snow cover (brighter shades of green) remaining in parts of northeastern North Dakota and southern Manitoba that received the highest storm total snowfall accumulations (for example, 32″ south of Morden MB, 29″ at Vang ND, 28″ at Olga ND and 27″ at Langdon ND). The site south of Morden MB reported a residual snow depth of 10 inches that morning.

Hurricane Dorian reaches Category 5 intensity

September 1st, 2019 |

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Overlapping 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sectors provided GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images at 30-second intervals (above) as Hurricane Dorian reached Category 5 intensity just east of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas during the morning hours on 01 September 2019. West of Dorian, station Identifier MYGF is Freeport on Grand Bahama Island (which stopped reporting at 00 UTC on 01 September, due to evacuation).

As noted in the 15 UTC NHC discussion, the eye of Dorian was exhibiting a pronounced “stadium effect”, with a smaller-diameter surface eye sloping outward with increasing altitude (below).

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images at 1200 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images at 1200 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Visible images with and without overlays of GLM Flash Extent Density (below) revealed that lightning activity began to ramp up within the eyewall region after 12 UTC.

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with and without overlays of GLM Flash Extent Density [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with and without overlays of GLM Flash Extent Density [click to play animation | MP4]

A Mid-Level Wind Shear product (below) showed that Dorian had been moving through an environment of low shear — generally 10 knots or less — during the 00-15 UTC time period on 01 September.

Mid-layer Wind Shear product, 00-15 UTC [click to enlarge]

Mid-layer Wind Shear product, 00-15 UTC [click to enlarge]


As pointed out by NWS Grand Forks (above), portions of the outer cays just east of Great Abaco Island could be seen in GOES-16 Visible imagery through breaks in the low-level clouds within the eye (below).

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

VIIRS True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 as viewed using RealEarth are shown below, as the eye was moving over Great Abaco Island.

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 [click to enlarge]


After moving slowly westward across Great Abaco Island, Dorian later became the first Category 5 hurricane on record to make landfall on Grand Bahama Island (below). Station identifier MYGF is Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport, and MYGW is West End Airport.

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

===== 02 September Update =====

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Prior to sunrise on 02 September, 1-minute GOES-16 Infrared images (above) showed Dorian moving very slowly — with a forward speed of only 1 mph — across the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island (as it remained at Category 5 intensity).

After sunrise, 1-minute GOES-16 Visible and Infrared images (below) showed that the eye of Dorian was finally beginning to move very slowly northwestward away from Grand Bahama Island. At the end of the animation (15 UTC), Dorian was downgraded slightly to a high-end Category 4 hurricane.

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared images (below) provided a view of Dorian at 1817 UTC.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

At 21 UTC, a comparison of MIMIC Total Precipitable Water and DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave images (below) suggested that a tongue of drier air from the northwest and west was wrapping into the southern and southeastern portion of Dorian’s circulation.

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water and DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave images at 21 UTC [click to enlarge]

MIMIC Total Precipitable Water and DMSP-16 SSMIS Microwave images at 21 UTC [click to enlarge]

A long animation of GOES-16 Infrared images (below) covers the 1.5-day period from 1200 UTC on 01 September to 2359 UTC on 02 September — and initially includes 30-second images from 1200-1515 UTC on 01 September. Dorian was rated at Category 5 intensity from 1200 UTC on 01 September until 1400 UTC on 02 September. Station identifier MYGF is Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport.

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]


Additional satellite imagery and products are available from EUMETSAT.