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RAMMB: Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch logo CIRA: Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere logo NESDIS: NOAA Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service logo

Using Routine, 15-minute-scan, Visible Imagery

Strong thunderstorms form on low-level boundaries such as cold fronts, drylines, outflows, etc. These boundaries are frequently marked by organized lines of cumulus cloudiness. By monitoring pre-existing cumulus lines with satellite imagery, forecasters can focus their attention on specific, preferred regions of potential storm formation.

This loop shows a large thunderstorm developing in eastern TX on 27 May 1997. It developed on, and travelled along, a pre-existing line of towering cumulus which had formed along a cold front. This storm produced a family of tornadoes, the most destructive of which occurred at Jarrell, TX.

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