Widespread fog and low clouds along the East Coast


GOES-East Water Vapor imagery, every 2 hours, 0130 – 1330 UTC 23 December 2014 (Click to enlarge)

 A slow-moving storm system is producing widespread fog and low clouds on the east coast (and in the middle of the country as well). The water vapor animation above shows the cloud cover associated with the system. Water vapor imagery such as this suggests many different cloud layers, and in such cases the IFR Probability fields (below) rely on Rapid Refresh Data to provide information because Satellite signals of low clouds cannot occur in the presence of cirrus contamination. A simple Brightness Temperature Difference product would give little information about near-surface clouds over the Southeast.


GOES-East-based GOES-R IFR Probabilities and surface-based observations of ceilings and visibilities, hourly from 0145 through 1245 UTC 23 December 2013 (Click to enlarge)

 IFR Probability fields show a flat nature that occurs when satellite data cannot be used as a Predictor because of the presence of high clouds/multiple cloud layers. The Probability values are suppressed; interpretation of those values should be colored by the knowledge of the presence or absence of high clouds. In the example above, when high clouds briefly separate over central South Carolina around 0600 UTC, a region of higher IFR probability is shown. The algorithm is more confident that fog/low stratus exists because Satellite Predictors can also be used in that region. What changes is the ability of the GOES-R IFR Probability algorithm to assess the probability of IFR conditions because more predictors can be included; in the region where the high clouds part, satellite information about the low clouds can be included, and IFR Probabilities increase as a result.