Severe storms impacted a broad region of the US on May 16, 2017 from the Texas/Mexico border north to the Great Lakes. The widespread severe weather developed in response to a a synoptic-scale trough pushing east towards the middle of the country. GOES-16 imagery captured the severe convection from development early in the afternoon to their evolution through the evening hours.
The broad upper-level trough was analyzed in water vapor imagery pushing east across the Rocky Mountain region by early afternoon. The upper jet could be visualized in the imagery rounding the base of the trough as an area of warming/drying. Convection initiated from the Texas Panhandle north into Kansas as nose of the jet/leading edge of drying poked into the region (Figure 1).
Further north, a long-lived, tornado-producing supercell thunderstorm developed in northwest Wisconsin during the afternoon and traversed east across the northern part of the state through the evening. The 10.3 um IR imagery shows that this area of convection had a persistent overshooting top from shortly after initial development, with virtually no break for over 4 hours (Figure 2). Also apparent is an associated Enhanced-V signature. This storm was accompanied by a few other severe hail and wind producers.
Convection developed during the evening further south in Texas along the collision of two boundaries. The dryline retreated west and collided with the cold front as it accelerated east. These boundaries are easily identified in the GOES-16 Split Window Difference (10.3 – 12.3 um). The split window difference is covered in a previous blog post. The animation below overlays coldest IR brightness temperatures on the split window difference imagery.
Finally, what was that small feature skirting across the Oklahoma sky yesterday afternoon? Not a witch, but a very resilient orphan anvil, casting it’s shadow on the clouds below.
– Bill Line
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