NOAA/CIMSS ProbSevere with a tornado in Tallahassee, FL

January 27th, 2021 |

NOAA/CIMSS ProbSevere display, 1545 – 1700 UTC on 27 January 2021 (Click to animate)

A tornado struck the Tallahassee, FL, airport at 1643 UTC on 27 January 2021 (SPC Storm Report).  The animation above shows ProbSevere (version 2) fields (from this site) in the hour leading up to tornadogenesis.  The animation demonstrates how ProbTor values can be used to identify for closer scrutiny a particular radar object:  the radar object that ultimately caused a tornado showed greater ProbTor values (than surrounding identified radar objects) in the hour leading up to tornadogenesis. In addition, ProbTor values ramped up quickly just prior to tornadogenesis as low-level azimuthal shear jumped.

One time series below compares ProbWind, ProbHail and ProbTor for the radar object (#15080) that produced the tornado; for this event, ProbWind and ProbTor values were comparable until a ramp-up in ProbTor values before the tornado occurred. The second time series shows the various components of ProbTor for radar object 15080 (both time series courtesy John Cintineo, SSEC/CIMSS).  Note in particular that this storm was not a lightning-producer.  Much of ProbTor’s variability was determined by changes in low-level azimuthal shear.

NOAA/CIMSS ProbSevere values (ProbWind, ProbHail, ProbTor) for radar object #15080, 1530 – 1658 UTC on 27 January 2021 (Click to enlarge)

NOAA/CIMSS ProbTor and component values for Radar object #15080, 1530 – 1658 UTC on 27 January 2021, associated with the Tallahassee FL tornado (Click to enlarge)

Lead time with ProbTor in this example was not exceptional.  However, its elevated values in the hour leading up to the tornado could have provided better situational awareness, and perhaps enhanced confidence in warning issuance for this well-warned event.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm, right) images, with plots of SPC Storm Reports [click to play animation | MP4]

Unfortunately, the default Mesoscale Domain Sectors were positioned too far north to cover the Florida Panhandle — but 5-minute CONUS Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (above) depicted a west-to-east oriented line of thunderstorms across the northern portion of the Panhandle; a trend of cooling cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures was seen as the convection began to produce the tornado.

There was an overpass of the Terra satellite about 19 minutes before the start of the tornado event, at 1618 UTC — a toggle between 1-km resolution MODIS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images are shown below.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Zeta over the Gulf of Mexico

October 27th, 2020 |

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with an overlay of GLM Flash Extent Density [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with an overlay of GLM Flash Extent Density [click to play animation | MP4]

After making landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula a day earlier, a weakened Tropical Storm Zeta (NHC advisories) began to slowly re-intensify as it moved northward across the Gulf of Mexico after sunset on 27 October 2020 — 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images with an overlay of GLM Flash Extent Density (above) displayed increasing organization, with the gradual emergence of a ragged eye. Zeta once again reached hurricane intensity at 0600 UTC on 28 October.

===== 28 October Update =====

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0739 UTC (credit: William Straka, CIMSS) [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0739 UTC (credit: William Straka, CIMSS) [click to enlarge]

In a toggle between NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 0739 UTC (above), the coldest cloud-top infrared brightness temperature just east-northeast of the eye was -96ºC. Ample illumination from the Moon (in the Waxing Gibbous phase, at 91% of Full) helped to highlight the “visible image at night” utility of the Day/Night Band.

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (with and without an overlay of GLM Flash Extent Density) and “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (with and without an overlay of GLM Flash Extent Density) and “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Zeta experienced a period of rapid intensification during the day on 28 October (ADT | SATCON) — 1-minute GOES-16 Infrared images (with and without an overlay of GLM Flash Extent Density) and Visible images (above) showed a trend of increasing organization and the emergence of a fairly well-defined eye. Periodic lightning activity within the inner eyewall region began after 1800 UTC (when Zeta was upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane), along with overshooting tops exhibiting cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures as cold as -90ºC. The hurricane made landfall along the coast of Louisiana around 2100 UTC.

GOES-16 Longwave Infrared (11.2 µm) images, with contours of 20 UTC deep-layer wind shear [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Longwave Infrared (11.2 µm) images, with contours of 20 UTC deep-layer wind shear [click to enlarge]

Zeta was intensifying in spite of the fact that it was moving across progressively colder water, and approaching an atmospheric environment that was more hostile in terms of increasing deep-layer wind shear (above) — however, these factors were likely offset by a broad and well-defined upper level outflow channel north of the hurricane, shown by 6.2 µm Derived Motion Winds with velocities around 100 knots over Arkansas (below).

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of Derived Motion Winds [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Upper-level Water Vapor (6.2 µm) images, with plots of Derived Motion Winds [click to play animation | MP4]

===== 29 October Update =====

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

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

On the day after Zeta’s landfall, GOES-16 True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images created using Geo2Grid (above) showed an increase in turbidity within the shallow shelf waters off the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Also of note were the patches of fresh snow cover across portions of New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma — areas having less snow depth experienced melting during the day.

A higher-resolution view of the nearshore turbidity was provided by 250-meter resolution Terra MODIS True Color RGB imagery from the MODIS Today site (below). Vigorous mixing of the water by the strong winds of Zeta stirred up a great deal of sediment.

Terra MODIS True Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Cameron Peak Fire becomes the largest on record for Colorado

October 14th, 2020 |

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top left), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, top right), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm, bottom left) and Fire Temperature RGB (bottom right) [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top left), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, top right), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm, bottom left) and Fire Temperature RGB (bottom right) [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) and Fire Temperature Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images (above) showed diurnal changes in the Cameron Peak Fire in northern Colorado on 14 October 2020. Aided by strong westerly winds at the surface (with peak gusts in the 50-70 mph range), the fire’s thermal signature initially began to increase in areal coverage and spread rapidly eastward — however, following the passage of a cold front around 18 UTC, an influx of cooler air with higher relative humidity halted this eastward expansion of the fire (with the thermal signature then retreating westward and diminishing in size). By that evening, the fire’s total burned area had grown to 158,300 acres, making it Colorado’s largest wildfire on record. While there was some pyrocumulus development over the fire source region, this large and hot fire did not produce a pyrocumulonimbus cloud.

Another view of the fire using 5-minute imagery from GOES-16 provided quantitative products such as Fire Power, Fire Temperature and Fire Area (below) — these 3 products are components of the GOES Fire Detection and Characterization Algorithm (FDCA). Surface observations showed that during the morning hours smoke was restricting surface visibility to 3 miles at Fort Collins (KFNL) and 5 miles at Greeley (KGXY).

GOES-16 Fire Temperature (top left), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, top right), Fire Power (bottom left) and Fire Area (bottom right) [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Fire Temperature (top left), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, top right), Fire Power (bottom left) and Fire Area (bottom right) [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images created using Geo2Grid (below) indicated that one portion of the Cameron Peak Fire smoke plume was transported eastward across parts of Nebraska and Iowa, with another part of the plume moving southeastward across Kansas.

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

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

A toggle between Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images on 14 October from the MODIS Today site (below) showed the  Cameron Peak Fire smoke plume as well as its large burn scar (shades of red).

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images on 14 October [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True Color and False Color RGB images on 14 October [click to enlarge]

In a comparison of MODIS False Color RGB images from Aqua on 13 October and Terra on 14 October (below) the growth of the Cameron Peak Fire along its southeast flank was evident — and several other large fire burn scars were evident across Colorado and southern Wyoming.

MODIS False Color RGB images from Aqua (13 October) and Terra (14 October) [click to enlarge]

MODIS False Color RGB images from Aqua (13 October) and Terra (14 October) [click to enlarge]

Additional aspects of this fire and its environment are discussed here.

Midwest Derecho

August 10th, 2020 |

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the eastward progression of a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) that produced a long swath of damaging winds (SPC Storm Reports) or derecho from eastern Nebraska to Indiana on 10 August 2020. The highest measured wind gust was 112 mph in eastern Iowa at 1755 UTC.

The corresponding GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images are shown below.

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in cyan [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with SPC Storm Reports plotted in cyan [click to play animation | MP4]

In a comparison of Infrared Window images from Suomi NPP (11.45 µm) and GOES-16 (10.35 µm) at 1931 UTC (below), the higher spatial resolution of the VIIRS instrument detected infrared brightness temperatures as cold as -84ºC, compared to -76ºC with GOES-16 (the same color enhancement is applied to both images). The northwest parallax offset associated with GOES-16 imagery at this location was also evident.

Comparison of Infrared Window images from Suomi NPP (11.45 µm) and GOES-16 (10.35 µm) at 1931 UTC [click to enlarge]

Comparison of Infrared Window images from Suomi NPP (11.45 µm) and GOES-16 (10.35 µm) at 1931 UTC [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Visible/Infrared Sandwich Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with “probability of intense convection” contours and SPC Storm Reports, is shown below. The probability contours are produced from a deep-learning algorithm used to identify patterns in ABI and GLM imagery that correspond to intense convection. It is trained to highlight strong convection as humans would identify it. Work is ongoing to incorporate this storm-top information into NOAA/CIMSS ProbSevere.

GOES-16 Visible/Infrared Sandwich RGB and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with “probability of intense convection” contours and SPC Storm Reports (credit: John Cintineo, CIMSS) [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Visible/Infrared Sandwich RGB and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with “probability of intense convection” contours and SPC Storm Reports (credit: John Cintineo, CIMSS) [click to play animation | MP4]

A comparison of Terra MODIS True Color RGB images (source) from before (28 July) and after (11 August) the derecho (below) revealed very large swaths of wind-damaged crops (lighter shades of green) across Iowa. It is estimated that around 10 million acres of corn and soybean crops were flattened by the strong winds.

Comparison of before (28 July) / after (11 August) Terra MODIS True Color RGB images centered over Iowa [click to enlarge]

Comparison of before (28 July) / after (11 August) Terra MODIS True Color RGB images centered over Iowa [click to enlarge]

A toggle between VIIRS True Color RGB images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 visualized using RealEarth (below) also displayed the crop damage swath.

VIIRS True Color RGB images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 -- with and without map labels [click to enlarge]

VIIRS True Color RGB images from Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 — with and without map labels [click to enlarge]

Shown below is a before/after (28 July/11 August) comparison of VIIRS Day/Night Band (DNB) imagery (source), where many of the areas across Iowa that suffered significant power outages — appearing darker (due to a lack of city lights) on the nighttime DNB images — corresponded to the large swaths of crop damage seen on the 11 August MODIS True Color image. Around 550,000 households lost power across the state.

VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images on 28 July and 11 August, along with a MODIS True Color RGB image on 11 August [click to enlarge]

VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images on 28 July and 11 August, along with a MODIS True Color RGB image on 11 August [click to enlarge]

Even 2 days later (on 12 August), many customers remained without power across Iowa (below), especially in Marshall County (where peak winds of 106 mph were recorded), Tama County (where peak winds of 90 mph were recorded) and Linn County (where peak winds of 112 mph were recorded).

Iowa counties with power outages on 12 August [click to enlarge]

Iowa counties with power outages on 12 August [click to enlarge]