Moist upslope flow, moderate instability and 30-35 knot shear across southern Colorado led to the development of strong-severe storms during the afternoon on Monday, 26 June 2017. Given the threat for severe storms, WFO Pueblo requested (and was granted) a GOES-16 mesoscale sector (1-min imagery). The 1-min visible and IR imagery was utilized by forecasters during warning operations.
The radar operator covering the far eastern counties of southern Colorado utilized a two-panel display of 1-min VIS and IR imagery to monitor convective trends during warning operations (Figure 1). This two panel was loaded in a CAVE with his radar/warning display (All tilts dual pol radar in another CAVE). The 1-min satellite imagery proved to be extremely valuable in identifying new updraft growth (vis signatures as well as cooling in IR) as well as early stages of updraft weakening (loss of texture in vis, warming in IR) prior to other observational datasets. Knowing where a new updraft was developing or updrafts were maintaining strength allowed the forecaster to anticipate new warning issuance or know to continue a warning on a storm. Knowing where convection was starting to decay allowed the forecaster to anticipate letting a warning go. This setup is especially valuable in enhancing situational awareness in pulse thunderstorm environments and in situations of widespread thunderstorm activity. Of course, the 1-min satellite imagery is used in conjunction with other datasets such as radar and lightning.
Below are GOES-16 Vis and IR animations of a period of severe thunderstorm issuance in Baca County, CO (Figures 2 and 3). In both the VIS and IR, one can see weakening of the updraft associated with a warning early in the loop. The warning is allowed to expire. Meanwhile, updraft growth (and development of an overshooting top and above anvil cirrus plume) is analyzed to the northwest of the old updraft, where a new warning is subsequently issued. The Pueblo, CO CWA is in the area north and west of the thick Black outline.
Below is a radar animation from the event with warnings overlaid (Figure 4).
This case exemplifies how 1-min imagery from GOES-16 can aid a radar operator in warning operations. These storms were in very rural areas, but multiple 1″ hail reports were received.
– Bill Line, NWS
“The GOES-16 data posted on this page are preliminary, non-operational data and are undergoing testing. Users bear all responsibility for inspecting the data prior to use and for the manner in which the data are utilized.”