Wildfires in South Dakota

March 29th, 2021 |

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared images, with hourly surface wind barbs (cyan) and gusts (in knots, red); Interstate 90 is plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly surface wind barbs (cyan) and gusts (in knots, red); Interstate 90 is plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) displayed the thermal anomalies (clusters of hot pixels) associated with 2 wildfires burning in western South Dakota on 29 March 2021. One fire began just west of Rapid City around 1530 UTC — which forced some evacuations. A second fire began just north of Interstate 90 around 1730 UTC — which forced the closure of Interstate 90 between Kadoka and Murdo as strong northwesterly winds in the wake of a cold frontal passage (surface analyses) caused a rapid fire run to the southeast. The southern surge of cold air (lighter shades of gray) behind the cold front could also be seen in the Shortwave Infrared images; both fires began shortly before the arrival of the cold front.

Taking a closer look at the fire just west of Rapid City, a 4-panel comparison of GOES-16 Fire Temperature RGB, Shortwave Infrared, Fire Power and Fire Temperature Characterization products (below) showed that this was not a particularly large or hot fire, whose signature was sometimes obscured by clouds moving overhead.

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

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

===== 30 March Update =====

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm) and Day Land Cloud Fire RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

On the following day, GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm) and Day Land Cloud Fire RGB images (above) revealed the northwest-to-southeast oriented burn scar (darker gray pixels).

1984: Carolinas Tornado Outbreak

March 29th, 2021 |

NOAA’s GOES-5 VISSR view of a historical outbreak in the Carolina’s in 1984. March 28th and 29th, 1984 saw one of the most destructive tornado events in the history of North and South Carolina.

Infrared Loop:

GOES-5 Infrared imagery from 12:00 UTC to 23:30 UTC on March 28, 1984.

The coldest clouds appear as darker shades of red. A regional scale IR loop.

Visible Loop:

GOES-5 visible imagery from 12:00 UTC to 23:30 UTC on March 28, 1984.

A more zoomed-in visible loop over the same time range.

H/T Melissa Griffin for reminding us of this case:

More background on this case in 1984 was posted by the NWS Willmington office: https://www.weather.gov/ilm/CarolinasOutbreak.

A combined visible and infrared GOES-5 Full Disk image from March 28, 1984 at 21 UTC.

A larger Full Disk “sandwich” image.

NOAA GOES-5 data are via the University of Wisconsin-Madison SSEC Satellite Data Services.