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GOES-13 Movie Shows Tornadic Storms Move Through Massachusetts
06.03.11
 
This animation of GOES-13 satellite imagery begins at 17:45 UTC (1:45 p.m. EDT) to 23:45 UTC (7:45 p.m. EDT) and shows the line of storms progressing from west to east that generated three tornadoes over Massachusetts on June 1. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project, Dennis Chesters

Bubbling, severe thunderstorms that generated three tornadoes that struck Massachusetts on June 1 can be seen in a new animation of GOES-13 satellite images.

A line of late afternoon thunderstorms over New England spawned a rare outbreak of tornadoes in south central Massachusetts between 20:00 UTC and 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT) killing at least four people and leaving a path of destruction in the city of Springfield and 19 nearby communities.

The animation of GOES-13 satellite imagery showing the tornadic storms was created by the NASA/NOAA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) are managed by NOAA, and the NASA/NOAA GOES Project creates images and animations from those satellites.

GOES-13 satellite image of tornadoes In the GOES-13 animation at 20:01 UTC (4:01 p.m.) you can see the bubbling up of high thunderstorms, which coincide with the reported tornadoes on the ground in Springfield, Mass. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project, Dennis Chesters
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The animation begins at 17:45 UTC (1:45 p.m. EDT) to 23:45 UTC (7:45 p.m. EDT) and shows the line of storms progressing from west to east. In the animation at 20:01 UTC (4:01 p.m.) you can see the bubbling up of high thunderstorms, which coincide with the reported tornadoes on the ground in Springfield, Mass. If there is a tornado, you typically see overshooting cloud tops in satellite imagery, but overshooting cloud tops don't necessarily indicate a tornado.

The Springfield tornado either formed over or tracked over the Connecticut River before moving into downtown Springfield. According to CNN, one person was killed in Springfield, two people died in Westfield, and one person in Brimfield.

In addition to severe weather, GOES imagery also monitors hurricane alley in the Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific, and hurricane season just started on June 1.

Since 2010, the GOES Project offers free, real-time HDTV movies of the east- (Atlantic) and west (Eastern Pacific) coast "hurricane alley" regions on the Internet. There are "Coastal" and "Global" movies.

"The color frames are composed by overlaying the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) GOES cloud images on a true-color background previously derived from NASA's Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imager," said GOES Project Scientist Dennis Chesters on the NASA GOES Project at Goddard. MODIS is an instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites to provide color imagery of the Earth's surface. "The GOES infrared images show the convective storms 24 hours a day. During daylight, the GOES visible images reveal the low clouds that provide detail and a sense of the low-level winds," Chesters said.

All of the animations can be found at the NASA GOES Project Web page:
http://goes.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Hurricane storm updates and data can also be found on NASA's Hurricane page at
www.nasa.gov/hurricane
 
 
Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.