Blowing dust across New Mexico. Texas and Oklahoma

January 30th, 2021 |

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

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

GOES-16 (GOES-East) True Color RGB images created using Geo2Grid (above) revealed multiple plumes of blowing dust — which had their sources in drought-stricken portions of New Mexico and the Texas/Oklahoma Panhandles — moving across Texas in the wake of a cold frontal passage on 30 January 2021. Other features of interest included an undular bore that developed ahead of the advancing cold front in Texas, and smaller plumes of blowing dust that originated from a cluster of dry lake beds in central New Mexico late in the day. Surface wind gusts in the 50-60 knot range were seen, and visibility was restricted to less than 1 mile at some locations.

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 Dust RGB and Split Window Difference (10.3 µm – 12.3 µm) images (below) showed that the dust signatures (brighter shades of magenta in the Dust RGB images, and brighter shades of yellow in the SWD images) diminished as the winds began to subside during the late afternoon hours.

GOES-16 Dust RGB and Split Window Difference (10.3 µm – 12.3 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Dust RGB and Split Window Difference (10.3 µm – 12.3 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) data displayed with Geo2Grid

January 30th, 2021 |

GOES-16 ABI CONUS sector band 13 (Clean Window, 10.3 µm) infrared imagery, 1901-2001 UTC on 30 January 2021

Geo2Grid is a scripting tool that accesses various Python packages to display Geostationary Satellite data, described on this blog before here, here and here (Polar2Grid is a similar package for Low Earth Orbit satellite data).  The animation above shows GOES-16 Band-13 (Clean Window, 10.3 µm) infrared data for an hour over Oklahoma/Kansas/Missouri/Arkansas during a time when tornadoes occurred (imagery was produced using Geo2Grid and GOES-16 level-1b radiance files).  (SPC Storm Reports).

Gridded GLM data are available at this website;  both CONUS and Full Disk domains are available, CONUS data are a simple subset of the Full Disk imagery.  These netCDF files (with ‘GLMC’ in the filename) are available each minute, and contain a variety of gridded GLM products, some of which as distributed to National Weather Service forecast offices. By using the ‘glm_l2’ reader in Geo2Grid, data can be plotted, and subsequently overlain on top of the ABI imagery, as shown below.

GOES-16 ABI CONUS sector band 13 (Clean Window, 10.3 µm) infrared imagery, 1901-2001 UTC on 30 January 2021, overlain with GLM Total Optical Energy at 1-minute time steps (Click to animate)

Snowfall across Virginia and North Carolina

January 28th, 2021 |

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

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

GOES-16 (GOES-East) Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images with plots of hourly surface weather type (above) showed the broad areal coverage of precipitation across Virginia and North Carolina during the nighttime and morning hours on 28 January 2021. Storm total snowfall and peak wind gusts associated with this event are listed here. Note that snow was even observed along the outer banks of North Carolina (although accumulations there were minimal).

After sunrise, the resulting northwest-to-southeast oriented swath of snow cover was revealed on GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Day Snow-Fog RGB (snow = darker shades of red) and Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB (snow=brighter shades of green) images (below).

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm), Day Snow-Fog RGB and Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Day Snow-Fog RGB and Day Cloud Phase Distinction RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

A toggle between Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color and False Color images at 1732 UTC is shown below. Snow cover appears as shades of cyan in the False Color image.

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color and False Color images at 1732 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS True Color and False Color images at 1732 UTC [click to enlarge]

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.

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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 — 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]