RAMMB Satellite Case Studies

The "Surprise" East Coast Winter Storm of 24-26 January 2000

On 24-26 January 2000, the East Coast of the U.S. was covered with snow produced by a low pressure system (central pressure below 980 mb on the 25th) which moved along the coast from South Carolina to New England. Twelve states (NC, SC, VA, WV, MD, PA, VT, NJ, DE, CT, MA, and NH) had reports of 6 or more inches of snow, with a record 20.3 inches falling in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Wind speeds at or above 30 kt were reported at numerous Atlantic buoys. This "Surprise Winter Storm" was not well forecast by the numerical models (see forecast model details), which impeded the efforts of forecasters to stay on top of the situation during its early stages.

For more details about what the imagery can tell us about this major weather event , please visit the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies' (CIMSS') website presentation.

The available GOES-8 dataset consists of some 550 files, covering the period from about 1200 UTC on 24 Jan. through 1245 UTC on 26 Jan. 2000. The file naming convention, yeardayhrmnsei08, can be interpreted as follows: year = 4-digit year; day = 3-digit Julian day; hr,mn, se = 2-digit-each hour, minute and second UTC associated with the image; i, or s as the case may be, = GOES Imager, or Sounder, data; and 08 = GOES-8 data source. The filename extensions denote the associated Imager channel number or, in the case of the Sounder, it is zero (.c00). The Imager channel number 1 (.c01) is the Visible; channel 3 (.c03) , the water vapor; and channel 4 (.c04) , the IR imagery.

These digital, McIDAS-formatted data are available by FTP through "canopus.cira.colostate.edu". Log in with "anonymous" and then provide your e- mail address as the password; the data are in the /00024_Ecst_Snow/ directory.