Satellite and Surface Observations of Strong Wind Zones Accompanying Thunderstorms

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  • 1 National Environmental Satellite Service, NOAA, Washington, D.C. 20233
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Abstract

This paper describes how the strength of thunderstorm gut fronts can frequently be determined from the satellite-derived speed of the clouds associated with the gust front and the appearance of the cloud patterns on the visible and enhanced IR satellite imagery.

Rapidly moving gust fronts are generally associated with strong surface wind speeds, with the strongest winds located in the portion of the arc boundary closest to the most vigorous convection. The region of most vigorous convection can be pinpointed by the cloud-edge gradients and the appearance of the anvil cirrus on enhanced infrared imagery. The relationship between cloud patterns and gust front strength was obtained by plotting surface wind data on 1 and 2 km resolution visible satellite imagery. The speeds of the clouds associated with the gust fronts were determined using an image analyzer with a video disk capable of storing images and displaying them in motion.

Abstract

This paper describes how the strength of thunderstorm gut fronts can frequently be determined from the satellite-derived speed of the clouds associated with the gust front and the appearance of the cloud patterns on the visible and enhanced IR satellite imagery.

Rapidly moving gust fronts are generally associated with strong surface wind speeds, with the strongest winds located in the portion of the arc boundary closest to the most vigorous convection. The region of most vigorous convection can be pinpointed by the cloud-edge gradients and the appearance of the anvil cirrus on enhanced infrared imagery. The relationship between cloud patterns and gust front strength was obtained by plotting surface wind data on 1 and 2 km resolution visible satellite imagery. The speeds of the clouds associated with the gust fronts were determined using an image analyzer with a video disk capable of storing images and displaying them in motion.

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