On the Integration of GOES-16 Products with Current Observational Tools to Improve Messaging for a Light Snow Event (254)

William Abeling, NOAA/NWS, Bismarck, ND



Light snow developed over central North Dakota during the early morning hours of January 6, 2018, during what was originally a dry forecast. The forecast and weather messaging would need to reflect what would become a high probability of occurrence, but low precipitation amount event. While these events may not always be particularly impactful, the public and partners may lose confidence in the forecast if not handled properly. This case will describe the tools and analysis applied to update the forecast and weather messaging. The GOES-16 Cloud Top Phase product was useful in determining the possible presence and areal extent of ice crystals, suggesting a seeder-feeder process may be playing a role. Model and observed sounding analysis were employed to show instability, dry layers and dendritic growth zones. The WSR-88D radar reflectivity and dual-pol products provided useful information on the identification of hydrometeors, and their size and shape, which was useful in identifying the potential for snow. And finally, surface observations provided ground truth in confirming light snow. Taken together, the application of all these tools allowed a timely update to the forecast that resulted in improved weather messaging.