February 9, 2013

Weekend edition: Dust storm hits El Paso and Snow Storm hits Northeast

Given the publicity given to the Nor'easter which hit Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts (sorry, folks, but I'm not buying this "name the winter storm contest"), you probably know all about the 2+feet of snow in those areas. The storm is shown on MODIS Terra this morning, but the streamers of Lake Effect snow coming off Lake Ontario are equally impressive, giving 12-16" of additional snow over the storm period in mostly clear weather. On the right, below, the 8AM Blue Hill Observatory, Massachusetts, webcam showed what the visibility was like this morning.

In El Paso, Texas, a similar webcam operated by Weatherbug (Earth Networks; Frank Macias ES) shows the dust storm that is currently going on in that region. The National Weather Service predicts high winds until late Saturday that will continue to blow up dust in West Texas and New Mexico. On the right, an overlay of the MODIS Terra Image with Google Earth and the NOAA METAR wind readings in the region are shown. MODIS shows the source of the dust to be deep in the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico. A link to some of the sources of the dust are on Panaramio and listed as Las Dunas de Samalayuca and de regrezo. Winds increase to 40 knots in North Texas and this dust can be expected to be transported to eastern Colorado and Western Kansas by Saturday night.

And Wednesday was the last flight for NASA's DISCOVER-AQ experiment in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Would you not know it but on Saturday the weather clears and it looks like they are having a lovely day there today.

Update: Sunday Feb 20, 2013 7:00EST

The frontal system responsible for yesterday's dust storm is feeding warm dry air (below left) northward at quite a clip into a 991 mb low centered over southern Minnesota. Winds are 25-30 knots through the Prairies (below right).

The PM air quality is pretty good across the country so in lieu of bad news, you can admire a beautiful picture of cellular convection over the Atlantic. The clouds actually look fractal.

Update: 20:30

Unfortunately this frontal system has spawned a series of tornados in Louisiana and Mississippi. Tonight the residents of Hattiesburg faced a large tornado. An impressive video of the tornado has been posted on YouTube. WARNING: if you are offended by strong language, turn off your sound.

Posted by Ray Hoff at February 9, 2013 3:57 PM
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