November 19, 2019

Satellite Extravaganza

The MODIS weather satellite image around noon on Monday had something for everyone, including a major Pacific cyclone and attendant fronts approaching our region (see below).

We start with the swirl of clouds into a low pressure center west of the Washington coast, with the lowest pressure in the center of swirl.

Then there is the shadow of the highest frontal clouds on the extensive middle level cloud deck to the west.

And there is rope cloud, a very narrow, but intense cloud band that shows the exact position of the cold front associated with the storm. 

And, don't forget the ship tracks, lines in stratus or stratocumulus clouds produced by the combustion products ejected into the marine atmosphere from marine vessels.  The ship effluent increases the number of cloud droplets, which appear more white in the satellite image.

And as an EXTRA BONUS, let me show you an image around 3 PM from the new GOES-17 satellite.  This system developed TWO low pressure/circulation centers!  Which is actually not good if you want an intense storm.

Can you imagine being a meteorologist before there were weather satellites?


  1. These images are fabulous, yes, and a perfect companion to the radar. This rain year, we're already up-to-date 10.41" of precip compared to 14.06" last year on the same date...but last year's total included two deluge days: 2.03" on 11/28/18 and 2.49" on 11/2/18. This fall is playing out as quite normal and wet.

    Q - How do you measure "cloud speed" based on these images? The hurricane centers in the southeast cite system speed and stalls. My guess is there's some sort of GIS tool... Just curious! Always curious.

  2. Before satellites? We called them .300 hitters.

  3. Nice blog. I did not know that two low pressure centers in one storm meant not a major storm.

  4. I cannot. My brother was a meteorologist in the Navy in the 1960's. He called himself a weather guesser because that is pretty much what he said he did. I know he sent balloons aloft and got some data. I think he did the best job possible with what he had to work with.

  5. snow later in the week any word ??

  6. Mother Nature's beautiful "ocean of air" on full display.

  7. cliff needs to post a new blog "ASAP" about the snow coming into our region

  8. The ship tracks! I teach a ninth grade physical science class and we were just learning about cloud-condensation nuclei. I am going to show them this photo!


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