Category Archives: Winter weather

Some satellite signatures of Winter remaining on 01 April

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice (1.61 µm, right) images [click to play animation]

Some remnant signatures of Winter could be seen on 01 April 2018 — the first were seen  on GOES-16 (GOES-East) GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice (1.61 µm) over North Dakota and South Dakota, in the form of snow cover and snow/ice on parts of the Missouri River (above). With the high April sun angle, the lesser snow cover over northern South Dakota melted rather quickly, and the southern edge of the deeper snow cover in southern North Dakota also receded during the day.

Farther to the east, the motion and breakup of ice in Green Bay was evident on GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm)  images (below).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation]

The March of Cyclones in a ‘Foureaster’ Animation

GOES-16 ABI Imagery from 28 February through 24 March 2018 at 15-minute time steps. CIMSS Natural Color imagery is shown during the day, a blend of GOES-16 ABI Shortwave (3.9 µm) and Longwave (10.3 µm) Infrared imagery is shown at night. (Click to open YouTube animation)

Four weeks of GOES-16 Full-Disk imagery, spanning 28 February to 24 March at a 15-minute interval, showing four Nor’easters, are available via the image above at YouTube.  The imagery shows CIMSS Natural Color during the day and a blend of GOES-16 ABI Shortwave (3.9 µm) and Longwave (10.3 µm) Infrared imagery at night.

The original mp4 (200 megabytes) is available for download here.

Icebreaking in Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior

GOES-16 ABI Band 2 “Red” (0.64 µm) Visible imagery, 2202 UTC on 22 and 23 March 2018 (Click to enlarge)

Dan Miller, the Science and Operations Officer (SOO) in Duluth sent the imagery above. Constant icebreaking has been ongoing on Whitefish Bay prior to the opening of the SOO Locks this weekend. A faint black line representing open water is apparent in the 22 March imagery, and it’s even more apparent in the 23 March imagery.

A toggle below, from 24 March 2018, shows the Band 2 “Red” (0.64 µm) Visible and the Band 5 “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) Near-Infrared images. The open water is apparent in both images — dark in contrast to the white snow and lake ice in the visible, darker than the adjacent ice in the 1.61 µm. Recall that horizontal resolution in Band 2 is 0.5 km at the sub-satellite point (nadir), and in Band 5 it is 1 km.

GOES-16 ABI Band 2 “Red” (0.64 µm) Visible and Band 5 “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) near-infrared imagery, 2202 UTC on 22 and 23 March 2018 (Click to enlarge)

Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 also viewed the icebroken path on 24 March, and favorable orbit geometry for NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP on 24 March (orbit paths from this site) meant 2 sequential passes from both satellites both viewed Whitefish Bay. The 4 images are shown in an animation below, with imagery from NOAA-20 first, then Suomi NPP (the labels all say Suomi NPP erroneously). Note that NOAA-20 data are provisional, non-operational, and undergoing testing still).

VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) Imagery from NOAA-20 (1708, 1846 UTC) and Suomi-NPP (1756, 1937 UTC) on 24 March 2018 (Click to enlarge)

The break in the ice was also visible in Day Night Band Imagery from VIIRS at 0722 UTC (from NOAA-20) on 24 March 2018.  It is also apparent in the shortwave Infrared imagery from both GOES-16 (very subtly) and from VIIRS (which offers better spatial resolution).

The icebreaking track was also apparent on 250-meter resolution Terra MODIS True-color and False-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the MODIS Today site (below). In the False-color image, ice and snow (in areas of sparse vegetation) show up as shades of cyan.

Terra MODIS True-color and False-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True-color and False-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Nor’easter off the east coast of the US

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

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

GOES-16 Mid-level (6.9 µm) Water Vapor images (above) showed the development of a Nor’easter off the east coast of the US during the 12 March13 March 2018 period (surface analyses). The storm produced blizzard conditions with snowfall amounts as high as 28.3 inches and wind gusts as high as 81 mph in Massachusetts (WPC storm summary | Boston MA summary | Gray ME summary | Caribou ME summary).

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) showed the cloud shied associated with the rapidly-intensifying Nor’easter on 13 March.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images, with hourly plots of surface weather type [click to play MP4 animation]

A closer view using 1-minute interval Mesoscale Sector “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images on 13 March (below) included plots of hourly surface wind gusts.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly surface wind gusts [click to play MP4 animation]

Summary of the 02-03 March Nor’Easter

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with plots of hourly wind gusts [click to play MP4 animation]

A strong Nor’easter affected much of northeastern portion of the US during 02 March and 03 March 2018. As noted in the previous blog post, the storm produced very strong winds which led to widespread wind damage and power outages. A GOES-16 (GOES-East) Mesoscale Sector was positioned over the storm on 02 March, and “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) provided a detailed view of the center of circulation over the western Atlantic.

A 2-day animation of GOES-16 Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images (below) showed the evolution of the storm as it moved from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean (surface analyses). A summary of the peak wind gusts and highest snowfall/rainfall totals can be seen here and here.

GOES-16 Mid-level (6.9 µm) images, with plots of hourly wind gusts [click to play MP4 animation]

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

On 03 March, a vortex was seen to develop in GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, just behind the occluded frontal boundary — about 30 minutes after a burst of stronger northeasterly winds (with speeds as high as 58 knots) was analyzed in that region by the Metop ASCAT instrument.

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with surface fronts and Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to play MP4 animation]

A signature of this vortex was also evident in GOES-16 Low-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) images (below). A toggle between Visible and Water Vapor images at 1605 UTC is available here.

GOES-16 Mid-level (6.9 µm) images, with surface fronts and Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to play animation]

GOES-16 Low-level Water Vapor (7.3 µm) images, with surface fronts and Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to play MP4 animation]

Finally, a NOAA-20 VIIRS True-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image centered over Lake Erie at 1839 UTC on 03 March (below) showed the fresh snow cover left by the storm as it moved across the Great Lakes on 02 March. Snow can be seen across parts of Lower Michigan, southern Ontario, northern Ohio, and far northwestern Pennsylvania. NOAA-20 is the first of the JPSS series of satellites (note: the data are still considered preliminary and non-operational as the instruments and products are being evaluated and tested).

NOAA-20 True-color RGB image, centered of Lake Erie [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS True-color RGB image, centered of Lake Erie [click to enlarge]

Derived Motion Winds near the surface with a strong East Coast Storm

GOES-16 ABI Band 10 (Low-Level Water Vapor, 7.3 µm) Infrared Imagery, 0507-1757 UTC on 2 March 2018 (Click to animate)

The evolution of a very strong Nor’easter on the East Coast of the United States for the twelve hours ending at ~1800 UTC on 2 March 2018 is shown above. During this time period, the storm produced winds that shut down schools and Government in the Nation’s Capitol (and elsewhere), with High Wind Warnings widespread from North Carolina to Massachusetts (Link, from this site). Significant Coastal Flooding is likely in New England with this storm.

One of the Level 2 Products produced with GOES-R Series Satellite (GOES-16 and soon, GOES-17) data are Derived Motion Wind Vectors at various levels. The images below show winds of up to 70 knots (!!) at or below 900 hPa over the Chesapeake Bay between 1627 and 1657 UTC on 2 March. Observations (bottom) show numerous surface gusts exceeding 50 knots in the region during that time.

GOES-16 ABI Band 10 (Low-Level Water Vapor, 7.3 µm) Infrared Imagery, 1627 and 1657 UTC on 2 March 2018, with Derived Motion Winds in excess of 50 knots at ~1000 hPa (red) and ~900 hPa (Magenta) plotted (Click to enlarge)

GOES-16 ABI Band 2 (“Red” Visible, 0.64 µm) Visible Imagery, 1502, 1602 and 1702 UTC on 2 March 2018, with surface observations plotted in green (Click to enlarge)

 

Severe weather in the Mid-South, and heavy snow in the Upper Midwest

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

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

GOES-16 (GOES-East) Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images (above) showed the flow of moisture from the lower Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley on 24 February 2018 — this fueled the development of flooding rainfall and severe thunderstorms (for more details, see the Satellite Liaison Blog). A special 21 UTC sounding from Little Rock AR indicated 37.3 mm or 1.47 inches of Total Precipitable Water (TPW) within the atmospheric column.

1-minute interval Mesoscale Sector GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below) revealed the development of a small supercell thunderstorm just north of the Kentucky/Tennessee border — this storm produced an EF-2  tornado that was responsible for 1 fatality (NWS Louisville damage survey). This (along with another in Arkansas) was the first US tornado-related death in 283 days (a new record in terms of length), with the last occurring in Wisconsin on 16 May 2017.

GOES-16 "Red" Visible<em> (0.64 µm, left)</em> and "Clean" Infrared Window <em>(10.3 µm, right)</em> images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow and SPC storm reports plotted in red [click to play Animated GIF | <a href="http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/180224_goes16_visible_infrared_spc_storm_reports_KY_TN_severe_anim.mp4"><strong>MP4</strong></a> also available]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm, right) images, with hourly surface reports plotted in yellow and SPC storm reports plotted in red [click to play Animated GIF | MP4 also available]

Farther to the north, bands of elevated convection (oriented generally west to east) developed across Minnesota and Wisconsin, as seen in GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (10.3 µm) images (below). Snowfall rates were 1-2 inches per hour at some locations, with many storm total accumulations of 7 to 9 inches. Note the small-scale “ripple structure” that was present along the tops of many of these convective bands (orthogonal to the long axis of each band).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0/64 µm) images [click to play animation]

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean ” Infrared Widow (10.3 µm) images [click to play animation]

Comparisons of Terra and Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images (below) also showed these bands of elevated convection that helped to enhance snowfall rates. The layer of instability aloft was evident on the 00 UTC sounding from Chanhassen MN.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Ice in the western Great Lakes

GOES-16 "Red" Visible (0.64 µm) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play animation]

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play animation]

After several days of cold temperatures, ice coverage in the western half of Lake Superior began to increase — and GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the motion of some of this lake ice (which was driven by a combination of surface winds and lake circulations) on 04 February 2018. That morning a number of locations in northern and northeastern Minnesota reported low temperatures in the -20 to -40 ºF range, with -43 ºF at Embarrass (the coldest location in the Lower 48 states).

With an overpass of the Landsat-8 satellite at 1646 UTC, a 30-meter resolution False-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image (below) provided a very detailed view of a portion of the Lake Superior ice. NOAA-GLERL analyzed the mean ice concentration of Lake Superior to be at 23.9% ; the Canadian Ice Service analyzed much of the new lake ice to have a concentration of 9/10ths to 10/10ths.

Landsat-8 False-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Magnified sections of the Landsat-8 RGB image swath are shown below, moving from northeast to southwest.

Landsat-8 False-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False-color RGB image [click to enlarge]

Moving to the south, a closer look at Green Bay in northeastern Wisconsin revealed a few small ice floes drifting from the north end of the bay into Lake Michigan (below).

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with plots of hourly surface reports [click to play animation]

Mid-latitude cyclone in the central US

GOES-16 Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with hourly precipitation type plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

5-minute GOES-16 Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images, with hourly precipitation type plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

A large mid-latitude cyclone intensified over the central US on 22 January 2018, producing a wide variety of weather — in the cold sector, heavy snow and blizzard conditions across the Plains and Upper Midwest (WPC storm summary), and in the warm sector, severe weather (tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds: SPC storm reports) from Mississippi to Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. GOES-16 (GOES-East) Mid-level Water Vapor (6.9 µm) images (above) showed the large size of the storm circulation, which included a well-defined Warm Conveyor Belt (WCB) and a Trough of Warm Air Aloft (TROWAL) as identified here. More information on conveyor belts and TROWALs is available here.

A GOES-16 Mesoscale Sector provided 1-minute imagery over the Upper Midwest — “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) revealed some of the convective elements surrounding the surface low as it reached its occluded stage over Iowa. A small cluster of thunderstorms also developed over central Illinois around 19 UTC, producing 1.0-inch diameter hail.

GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly precipitation type plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

1-minute GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly precipitation type plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

Taking a  closer look at the eastern portion of the previous satellite scene, there was an overlap between the M1 and M2 Mesoscale Sectors — this allowed for images at 30-second intervals (below).

30-second GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly precipitation type plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

30-second GOES-16 Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly precipitation type plotted in yellow [click to play MP4 animation]

Ice dam in Lake Erie

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images, with hourly surface wind barbs plotted in yellow and wind gusts (knots) plotted in cyan [click to play animation]

Thanks to Dave Zaff (NWS Buffalo) for the email alerting us to an ice dam that had formed across the eastern portion of Lake Erie on 19 January 2018 — GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed that the northeastward drift of ice floes was effectively being blocked by this ice dam feature.

A toggle between 250-meter resolution Terra MODIS True-color and False-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images from the MODIS Today site (below) provided a more detailed view of the Lake Erie ice dam and upwind drift ice at 1615 UTC. Snow and ice appear as shades of cyan in the False-color image, in contrast to supercooled water droplet clouds which are shades of white.

Terra MODIS True-color and False-color RGB images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS True-color and False-color RGB images; red arrows denote the location of the ice dam [click to enlarge]

The Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image with an overlay of RTMA surface winds (below) showed the southwesterly flow across the long axis of the lake.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image with surface METAR reports and RTMA surface winds [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) image with surface METAR reports and RTMA surface winds [click to enlarge]

A toggle between 1607 UTC Terra MODIS and 1757 UTC Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible images (below) showed the motion of the lake drift ice during that time period.

Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible images, with METAR surface reports [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible images, with METAR surface reports [click to enlarge]