Severe weather in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota

June 1st, 2018 |


GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (above) showed thunderstorms that produced severe weather (SPC storm reports | NWS Rapid City) across parts of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota on 01 June 2018. The SPC storm reports on the imagery are “parallax-corrected”, such that they are plotted at a location matching the corresponding cloud-top features (applying the 11-km tropopause height from the 12 UTC Rapid City rawinsonde report).

GOES-16 Mid-level (6.9 µm) images (below) revealed a shortwave trough that was moving eastward across the northern Rocky Mountains, enhancing forcing for ascent as it approached the region of developing convection.

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with plots of SPC storm reports [click to play MP4 animation]

Upwind-propagating bore over southern Lake Michigan

June 1st, 2018 |

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) Visible Imagery at 1-minute intervals from 1337 to 1658 UTC on 1 June 2018 (Click to play mp4 animation)

GOES-16 Visible Imagery on 1 June revealed an interesting feature behind a lake-enhanced cold front that swept south into Indiana and Illinois (another aspect of this feature is discussed here). Atmospheric waves developed in the cloud layer over the south shore of Lake Michigan and propagated upwind towards Chicago. The mp4 animation above (Click here for a full-res very large animated gif) shows 1-minute imagery from the western default GOES-16 Mesoscale sector. (At 1659 UTC, that sector was repositioned to the west to monitor convection in the northern Plain States).

CONUS-scale imagery was able to sample the evolution of this system at 5-minute intervals, as shown below (Click here for an animation without the surface observations).

There is a considerable thermal gradient between the lake surface and the land over Indiana and Illinois. This Land Surface Baseline Product shows surface temperatures in the low 40s over the Lake and surface temperatures in the mid-80s over northwest Indiana. This strong thermal gradient likely influenced the development of these unusual waves. An aircraft sounding from 1535 UTC (here, courtesy TJ Turnage) shows the very strong inversion that was also important in the evolution of the waves.

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) Visible Imagery at 5-minute intervals from 1102 to 1917 UTC on 1 June 2018, along with hourly surface plots (Click to play animated gif)

(Thanks to TJ Turnage, NWS GRR for alerting us to this event!)

Added, 5 June:  Clark Evans, UW-Milwaukee, hypothesizes that the waves may have been forced by the (relatively) tall dunes in Indiana along the south shore of Lake Michigan.   Those dunes may have been tall enough to block the flow under a very sharp inversion.

Wildfires in New Mexico

June 1st, 2018 |

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) and GOES-16 Fire Temperature Product at 0332 UTC on 1 June 2018 (Click to enlarge)

The toggle above shows the 3.9 µm brightness temperature over New Mexico at 0332 UTC on 1 June and the GOES-16 Fire Temperature Derived Product. Two areas of fires are apparent, one in the Gila National Forest in southwestern New Mexico, and one in northeast New Mexico (The Ute Park fire), in a region of extreme drought (Linked image from the US Drought Monitor).

At night, as above, the location of a smoke plume can be difficult to discern. Real Earth now includes (under the ‘Fires’ folder) tiles of the HRRR Surface Smoke Forecast, as shown below in 1-hour time increments between 0600 and 1200 UTC on 1 June.

HRRR Surface Smoke Forecast, 0600-1200 UTC on 1 June 2018 (Click to animate)

The excellent temporal resolution of GOES-16 allows for close monitoring of fires. The Ute Park fire is shown below in 3.9 µm imagery, and its evolution during the night is apparent.

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) Imagery, 0302 UTC – 1542 UTC on 1 June 2018 (Click to animate)

During the day, visible imagery is available to track smoke plumes. The “Blue Band” visible imagery, below (0.47 µm), from GOES-16 suggests the smoke plume from the Ute fire extends into Kansas.

GOES-16 Visible (0.47 µm) Imagery, 1237 – 1547 UTC (Click to animate)

More information on the Ute Park fire is here and here.

Kilauea effects stretch to Guam

June 1st, 2018 |

Suomi-NPP Views of the eastern tip of the island of Hawai’i at 1155 UTC on 1 June 2018. VIIRS Day Night Band Visible (0.70) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75) and Longwave Infrared (11.45) (Click to enlarge)

Early on 1 June 2018, clear skies allowed an unobstructed view of the still-erupting Kilauea from Suomi-NPP. (Orbit paths from this link).   The image above steps through the Day Night Band 0.7 µm Visible Image, the 3.75 µm Shortwave Infrared, and the 11.45 µm Longwave Infrared. The warm signatures of the lava extend all the way into the ocean.


Photo showing Volcanic Haze on the Island of Guam (photo courtesy Brandon Aydlett, NWS GUM)

On 30 May 2018, hazy skies were widespread over the Mariana Islands, haze that could be traced back to Hawaii. (The picture above looks northeast from Nimitz Hill on the island of Guam).

The visible imagery below shows a pall of haze entrenched within the tropical easterlies from south and west of Hawai’i all the way across the Pacific Basin to Guam — a distance of some 4000 miles! (Himawari imagery courtesy Brandon Aydlett, NWS GUM, where the National Weather Service day begins!)

Himawari-8 Band 3 (0.64 µm) Imagery on Wednesday 30 May 2018 (Click to enlarge)