Mississippi and Ohio River Flooding

More flooding has occurred over the past weekend, due to a series of storms passing through the Lower Mississippi River Valley and along the Ohio River. Storm totals across the area were in the range of 4-8 inches of liquid precipitation. In the image below, National Weather Service (NWS) – Paducah, Kentucky shows total precipitation values along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, and displays the states of Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky on 25 February 2018. For a zoomed-in image click on the following NWS-Paducah social media link.

In complement to these totals, one can also see the magnitude of the flooding via the VIIRS Flood Detection Map product, that can be seen via the RealEarth website. There are 2 subsequent images below. The first image shows a google map, in this case, covering where the Lower Mississippi River Valley and the Ohio River intersect, along with the neighboring states.

The second image shows the VIIRS Flood Detection Map product over the same domain. The product highlights the areas of inundation (yellow, orange and red colors) in relation to the open water (blue) and land (brown). In the southeast portion of the image (bottom-right corner) one can see ‘grey colors’ that are an indication of cloud cover in the area. The images were taken at 1932 UTC, 26 February 2018 and are at a spatial resolution of 375 meters. Notice, the inundation areas are along the rivers, but there are significant amounts of flooding just west of the Mississippi River, and north and south of the Ohio River. What makes matters worse, is more rain is expected within the next 3-5 days, most likely exacerbating the situation.

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Flooding across the CONUS

Within the last few days, extensive flooding has occurred due to heavy precipitation from Texas all the way to Michigan. Just look at the NOAA NWS River Forecast map, that encompasses river gauge data across the CONtinental United States (CONUS) on 23 February 2018. Each of the data points exhibit the magnitude of flooding. Notice the range of colors, depicting river gauges that are experiencing no flooding (green), near flood stage (yellow), minor flooding (orange), moderate flooding (red) and major flooding (purple).

If  one zooms in a little bit closer at the state of Michigan, one can see the range of flooding across the state.

In complement to river gauge data, one could also see the magnitude of flooding, utilizing the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Flood Detection Map product via the RealEarth data portal. This product is at a spatial resolution of 375 – m spatial resolution and the product’s algorithm calculates the floodwater fraction percentage of a pixel (i.e. how much of a pixel is flooded, expressed in percent).

The example below shows southern Michigan and all the nearby cities (bottom-left) and the VIIRS Flood Detection product (bottom-right), highlighting the areas of floodwater (yellow, orange, and red colors) in the center of the image, and around the state. The images were taken at 2055 UTC, on 22 February 2018. The product also discriminates between different scene types, such as: ice, open water, land, clouds, cloud shadows, mixed ice and water, and snow. Notice the vast areas of cloud cover (grey), cloud shadows (dark grey) to the west and the mixed ice and water (purple) and open water (blue) over Lake Huron.

There is more rain and snow expected in the forecast this weekend for Michigan, potentially leading to more flooding.

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Vortices off the California coast on 5 February 2018

GOES-16 captured some amazing imagery on the development of multiple vortices off the coast of southern California on 5 February 2018:



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Fuego de Volcan, Guatemala

A volcanic eruption took place on 1 February 2018 over the country of Guatemala. If you don’t know where exactly Guatemala is, it is located in central America, bordering the countries of Mexico, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. Guatemala has over 30+ volcanoes within the country, however only three (Pacaya, Fuego and Santiaguito) are currently active. The volcano that erupted was ‘Fuego de Volcan‘ (i.e. ‘Fire Volcano’ in English), located in southern Guatemala. The volcanic eruption sent multitudes of ash and smoke into the atmosphere and over the communities nearby.

To monitor Fuego de Volcan, one can utilize polar-orbiting satellite data, such as the Day/Night Band (DNB, 0.7 um) sensor, that illuminates atmospheric features and senses reflected and emitted light sources during the nighttime (i.e. emitted lights from fires, volcanic eruptions). In complement to the DNB, is the infrared, imagery band (I-4, 3.74 um) to identify hotspots. Here are animations from the past few days, 31 January 2018 – 2 February 2018, of both the DNB and I-4 satellite imagery of Fuego de Volcan. Note that all satellite images were taken during the nighttime, between 7-8Z, or 1-2 am local time.


Click on the animation. Notice within the red box, the continuously changing emitted lights that are produced from Fuego de Volcan, and one can see how close this volcano is in proximity to the neighboring cities just to the east and northeast, and Lago de Atitlan (Lake Atitlan, in English) to the northwest.


Click on the animation. In the infrared imagery, notice the hotspots, areas significantly hotter than their surrounding environment, produced by Fuego de Volcan (seen in bright white colors, exhibiting brightness temperatures of 300K and higher).

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