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March 2017 meteorological images

So many amazing images from which to choose for March 2017!

The one above was of a looong outflow boundary, which is as it sounds: The boundary at the leading edge of outflow from thunderstorms.  Strong gusts with it blasted through the Atlanta area as part of a “derecho” windstorm, and in its wake the boundary marked by the thin green line on radar trailed all the way back to Alabama.

The core cluster of storms that evening started spinning like a top!  That process can vividly be seen in the radar loop below, culminating in the phenomenon known as an MCV, for mesoscale convective vortex.


And check out a spin on a similar scale, but of snow squalls!  The high wispy clouds coming in overhead were cirrus out ahead of the next larger-scale weather system.

NWS Marquette

That resolution and fluidity of the visualization is courtesy of preliminary non-operational imagery from the new weather satellite over this part of the world, GOES-16.  Here is a comparison of it vs. the existing previous generation.

Source: https://twitter.com/bill_line
Source: https://twitter.com/bill_line

Some more GOES-16 magic from March:

College of DuPage NEXLAB
College of DuPage NEXLAB

On a day when an outbreak occurred, a cloud pattern on this GOES-16 image resembled the shape of a tornado.

College of DuPage NEXLAB

And from the new generation of satellite that’s been available on the other side of the world for a while, Himawari-8, Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie as it strengthened and approached Australia.  Debbie was spinning in the opposite way since it’s in the Southern Hemisphere.


This wasn’t a tropical cyclone, but as it moved up along the coast of Washington it sure looked like one!


There actually was a tropical cyclone wannabe near the Bahamas which was known as Invest 90L, unusual for March.  It did not become one, but did merge with a couple other systems to become a strong non-tropical cyclone. When the cyclonic swirl was fully developed on water vapor satellite imagery, it looked like a cinnamon roll!


Talk about cyclonic swirls!  This ginormous gyre below produced widespread powerful winds across the Great Lakes and thereabouts.

NERC Satellite Receiving Station, Dundee University, Scotland
NERC Satellite Receiving Station, Dundee University, Scotland

What’s this?!?

Alicia M. Bentley
Alicia M. Bentley

That was a model forecast representative of some serious atmospheric dynamics about to happen!

And happen they did, with record-setting snowfall totals in northeast PA and the Southern Tier of NY — it just kept snowing and snowing and snowing and snowing…


With that storm known as Stella, there was much forecast uncertainty in the details of how much snow vs. sleet vs. rain would fall in the I-95 corridor.  That was reflected in this series of model maps.  The little Ls represent possible positions of the center of the storm, spread like Spaghetti-Os; I’ve annotated with the larger L where it ended up being. As the number of hours in advance shortened from 66 to 6 hours, the uncertainty decreased.  But in the end the situation was controversial, as reflected in comments made by the governor of my home state of New Jersey directed toward National Weather Service meteorologists.


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