Low-topped Moderate Rain – Does VIIRS Imagery Help?

The Great Falls, MT WFO is receiving and evaluating RGB imagery from NASA/SPoRT. Paul Nutter analyzes the Night-time Microphysics RGB imagery to provide insight to reported precipitation when radar provided little to no reflectivity of the event.


On 25 September 2013 a synoptic-scale trough was moving through the northern Rockies, poised to produce widespread moderate rain and heavy mountain snow. In the early stages of this event, weak upslope precipitation was occurring along the Rocky Mountain Front, with a mixed overcast across north central Montana. Rain had not yet started at Great Falls, while overcast altostratus was observed at the station.

Around 12Z (6am MDT), the following observations came in from Havre, showing moderate rain:

KHVR 251242Z AUTO 35007KT 9SM -RA FEW007 BKN034 OVC041 08/07 A2971 AO2 P0008 KHVR 251206Z AUTO 01008KT 3SM RA BR SCT005 OVC011 09/08 A2972 AO2 P0005 KHVR 251203Z AUTO 01008KT 2 1/2SM RA BR BKN005 OVC011 09/08 A2972 AO2 P0004 KHVR 251153Z AUTO 01010KT 1 1/2SM +RA BR BKN005 OVC009 09/08 A2972 AO2 RAB14 SLP066 P0012 60014 70070 T00890083 10100 20089 50015 KHVR 251149Z AUTO 03005KT 1 1/2SM +RA BR BKN005 OVC011…

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