92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012
A Satellite Perspective of the April 19-27 2011 near Record Breaking Flood Event Impacting Much of the Southern and Eastern United States
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Josh Jankot, NOAA/NESDIS, College Park, MD; and S. Kusselson

The NOAA Satellite and Information Service's (NESDIS) Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) provides operational support to National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters by providing interpretive satellite text messages and annotated satellite graphics to help assist forecast offices in hydro-meteorological hazards such as heavy rain, flash flooding, and heavy snow. This case study evaluates the April 19-27 heavy rain event that impacted much of the southern and eastern United States (U.S) by looking at the evolution and development of the heavy rain from a satellite perspective. Guidance provided by the SAB to NWS offices during the event will be reviewed to determine accuracy and utility and to ascertain possible areas of improvement for the future. Satellite products that will be reviewed in detail include the GOES-13 visible, Infrared (IR), 6.7 micron water vapor channel imagery and the NESDIS Blended TPW (Kusselson, et al., 2009) product. Other variables to be looked at include the surface to 250 hPa analyses, surface hourly observations for surrounding stations, and radar data. The evolution of the heavy rainfall event will be compared to previous satellite operational research to assess if the flooding developed in a similar fashion to other historic events.

During this time period fifty-two satellite precipitation messages, thirty-eight annotated satellite graphics, and twenty automated satellite precipitation estimates were provided to the affected NWS River (RFC) and Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). Briefings and consultations were also provided to National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC). Upwards of 12 inches plus fell over parts of the Ozarks (April 23-27 alone) resulting in Harrison, Arkansas nearly breaking their all time record April rainfall dating back to 1945. Parts of Northeast Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas saw 12-14 inches during the same time period.

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