Severe thunderstorms in Michigan produce a fatal EF-3 tornado in Gaylord

May 20th, 2022 |

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images, with time-matched Local Storm Reports plotted in blue [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (above) showed thunderstorms that moved across the northern portion of Lower Michigan on 20 May 2022. These storms produced hail (up to 3.0 inches in diameter), damaging winds (as high as 76 mph) and an EF-3 tornado that struck Gaylord (SPC Storm Reports | NWS Gaylord summary). Note that METAR reports were not available at Gaylord (and also about 30 miles to the west-southwest, at Bellaire) after the time of the tornado and damaging wind reports, due to widespread power outages (which affected about 1/3 of customers in Ostego County). 

A 2-panel comparison of GOES-16 Visible and Infrared images — which includes time-matched plots of SPC Storm Reports — is shown below.

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm, bottom) images, with time-matched SPC Storm Reports plotted in red/cyan [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

Pulsing overshooting tops exhibited cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures as cold as -79oC — which represented an Equilibrium Level (EL) overshoot of 1 to 1.5 km, according to a special Gaylord rawinsonde launched at 19 UTC (below).

Plot of 19 UTC rawinsonde data at Gaylord, Michigan [click to enlarge]

——————————————————————–

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images at 1948 UTC, with the initial tornado report location plotted in blue [click to enlarge|

A toggle between GOES-16 Visible and Infrared images at 1948 UTC (above) includes the initial tornado report location plotted in blue. Note the offset between the overshooting top and the tornado report — this is due to parallax (below).

GOES-16 parallax correction direction (green) and magnitude (in km, red) [click to enlarge]

As the thunderstorms initially began moving inland from Lake Michigan and producing damaging winds near the northwest coast of Lower Michigan, a toggle between Suomi-NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (below) revealed overshooting tops with infrared brightness temperatures as cold as -87.7oC (darker purple enhancement).

Suomi-NPP VIIRS True Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images, with Local Storm Reports plotted in blue [click to enlarge]

Another pyrocumulonimbus cloud spawned by the Calf Canyon Fire in New Mexico

May 14th, 2022 |

GOES-18 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, center) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm, bottom) images, with hourly plots of surface reports [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

Preliminary / non-operational GOES-18 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) images (above) showed that the Calf Canyon Fire/Hermits Peak Fire in northern New Mexico produced another another pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) cloud on 14 May 2022 — following 2 previous pyroCb events on 10 May and 01 May. This particular pyroCb first exhibited cloud-top infrared brightness temperature (IR BT) values of -40C and colder (shades of blue in the bottom panel) at 2211 UTC, and later attained IR BTs in the -50s C (shades of red in the bottom panel).

A comparison of Suomi-NPP VIIRS True Color RGB, False Color RGB, Infrared Window and Shortwave Infrared images valid at 2032 UTC is shown below. These VIIRS images were acquired and processed using the Direct Broadcast ground station at SSEC/CIMSS.

Suomi-NPP VIIRS True Color RGB, False Color RGB, Infrared Window (11.45 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Wildfire signatures viewed by GOES-17, GOES-18 and GOES-16

May 11th, 2022 |

Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images from GOES-17 (left), GOES-18 (center) and GOES-16 (right) [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

A 3-panel comparison of 1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images from GOES-17 (GOES-West), GOES-18 (*preliminary, non-operational*) and GOES-16 (GOES-East) (above) showed the hot thermal anomaly (darker black to red pixels) of the Calf Canyon Fire/Hermits Peak Fire in northern New Mexico on 11 May 2022. The images are displayed in the native projection of each satellite.

Farther to the west, a similar comparison of Shortwave Infrared images from GOES-17 / GOES-18 / GOES-16 — with a different color enhancement applied — is shown for the Coastal Fire in Southern California.

Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images from GOES-17 (left), GOES-18 (center) and GOES-16 (right) [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

The fire’s thermal signature began to rapidly diminish in GOES imagery by 03 UTC — but a distinct signature was still evident on a 375-meter resolution Suomi-NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) image at 0941 UTC (below).

Suomi-NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) image at 0941 UTC [click to enlarge]

Calf Canyon Fire produces a pyrocumulonimbus cloud

May 10th, 2022 |

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top left), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, top right), Infrared Window (10.35 µm, bottom left) and Cloud Top Temperature derived product (bottom right) [click to play animated GIF | 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 Cloud Top Temperature derived product images (above) showed that the northern portion of the Calf Canyon Fire/Hermits Peak Fire in New Mexico produced a pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) cloud on 10 May 2022. Extreme fire behavior was aided by surface wind gusts in the 42-64 mph range and very dry air within the boundary layer (along with very dry fuels from the ongoing drought); these large fires also burned very hot, with 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared brightness temperatures reaching 138.71ºC — the saturation temperature of ABI Band 7 detectors. Coldest 10.35 µm cloud-top brightness temperatures exhibited by the pyroCb cloud were around -45ºC (lighter blue enhancement), with the Cloud Top Temperature product showing values as cold as -54ºC (red pixels).

In a comparison of NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color RGB, False Color RGB and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images valid at 2057 UTC (below), the coldest cloud-top infrared brightness temperature was -59ºC. These images were acquired and processed using the Direct Broadcast ground station at SSEC/CIMSS.

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

During the preceding nighttime hours, a toggle between Suomi-NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band and Shortwave Infrared images valid at 0847 UTC or 2:47 am MDT (below) showed the bright emitted light and hot thermal signature of active fires along the periphery of the burn area — especially along the northern fire front, which eventually produced the pyroCb cloud.

Suomi-NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

An evolution of the recent New Mexico wildfires using a series of VIIRS Day/Night Band images is available at this blog post.