Optical Flow Wind Storm Top Divergence Can Aid in Warning Operations
The storm of the day produced a 2.5” hail stone near Cato, NY.
Strong storm top divergence signals an intense or intensifying thunderstorm. Matched with upper level radar scans, satellite interrogation (clean IR), and ProbSevere, optical flow wind products may be another tool to aid the warning forecaster and/or storm scale mesoanalysis, Below are the corresponding optical flow wind storm top divergence images approaching 4 PM EDT (3 PM CDT) when the sig severe hail was reported. The thunderstorm of interest is centered just south of eastern Lake Ontario.
LightningCast as Graphical Messaging/IDSS Tool
As the DSS and graphics person for BUF, I took the opportunity to highlight the utility of LightningCast for Graphical NowCasts and DSS graphics. The fairly broad brushed nature of the lightning probability contours at the timesteps utilized for graphics I think is a positive for a few reasons: they show actionable probabilities (10+, 25+, 50+, 75+) that users can understand; the contours are akin to annotations on a radar graphic, so would be a time saver; and finally, broad brushed is a way to prompt users and partners to seek out more information, like real time zoomed in radar data, perhaps calling or sending us a chat on NWSChat, or even simply keeping an eye on the sky and listening for thunder. The parallax corrected product in the images below I feel would be more useful for graphics of the nature shown below. Ultimately, for operational use, there would probably need to be some work done to ensure they are not confusing to the user and aesthetically pleasing.
Graphical NowCasts for our websites and social media
Graphic for IDSS Event
A Case for the Sharpened GLM FED Color Scale Used this Week
Over the course of satellite product interrogation this week, the GLM FED stood out as one of the most useful products. Below are examples from in/near the BUF CWA at 2043z and 2047z. Note that the top of the color scale was set to 128 flashes/5 min over the grid point vs. the default 256 flashes/5 min in AWIPS. The FED also paired well with the MFA and TOE on this 4-pane procedure.
The color curve used this week really popped and correlated well with frequent ENTLN detections. Another example below from shortly after 6 PM EDT (2202 and 2207z) shows that there will be instances where perhaps an even small color bar range would be useful.
While the strongest storm at this time still showed up well on the AWIPS default color bar range, the 128 flashes/5 min top end of the range (top right) helped it pop even more and corresponded well conceptually with the ENTLN cloud flash detections. Furthermore, the thunderstorms to the north of the strongest thunderstorm showed up better from an SA perspective, if you have been focusing on the strongest storm for warning ops. The smallest color bar range on the bottom left further enhances the above described effect.
Addendum: GLM Flashes and a more smoothed FED
The excellent COD NexLab Satellite and Radar page added within the past year the GLM flash centroids to their GOES derived overlays. From an apples to apples perspective with respect to the ground based lightning detection network displays, this may be a useful product to add into AWIPS.
Addendum 2: Would a more smoothed FED be preferable?
Below are a few web based examples of FED displays.
A case can be made that these smoothed FED examples would be somewhat less obtrusive than the default AWIPS FED display, especially for storm scale interrogation by the warning operator or storm scale mesoanalyst.