Convective Initiation Product Usage at NWS Huntsville on Sep 22nd

In addition to the Miami and Melbourne NWS offices, the Convective Initiation GOES-R proxy algorithm is being evaluated here in the Huntsville NWS office over the next few weeks.  Although the magnitude and intensity of convective events really begins to diminish in this area during September and October, some evaluation of the CI tool was possible yesterday as the TN Valley was in a relatively moist, unstable airmass ahead of an approaching cold front.

The short-term forecaster on shift, Christina Crowe, was able to get some utility out of the CI product, watching for the potential for convective initiation, and in particular, the potential for lightning for aviation impacts and for a couple of outdoor activities (she captured the following images).  The image below shows the output from the CI product (shaded red) overlaid with visible GOES sat imagery.

Convective Initiation areas shaded in red overlaid on GOES Vis imagery valid 1731Z

Notice that most of the CI was located in Madison and Jackson Counties in Alabama.  This composite reflectivity image valid at 1730Z shows the deep convection already in far SE portions of Madison County.  However, the algorithm suggested CI for portions of SW Jackson County as well.

Composite Reflectivity Image Valid 1730Z.

In these subsequent composite reflectivity images valid at 1754Z and 1812Z, notice the increase in deep convection and eventually the occurrence of cloud-to-ground lightning (indicated by the white dashes) in southwest portions of Jackson County, just west of the Scottsboro AWOS (K4A6).

Composite Reflectivity Image Valid 1754Z

Composite Reflectivity Image Valid 1812Z

In that portion of Jackson County, the CI algorithm allowed for about a 40 minute lead time on the occurrence of deep convection and lightning.  However, it was noted that the area of deep convection that eventually developed in NE portions of Jackson County were not detected by the CI algorithm.

While on this particular day, convection did not threaten any of our airports for which airport weather warnings (AWWs) are required, nor or our two locations for which weather support was requested by our Emergency Managers, its potential usefulness for such applications was noted.  This may serve as one of the most beneficial aspects of this particular tool to operational forecasters.

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