Just a quick initial note to show a few things we have been looking at with NASA SPoRT LIS and some of the satellite imagery so far.
1) We have had a limited sample size so far this year, but we have been looking at integrating LIS volumetric soil moisture and relative soil moisture into the Dust Storm decision making process (both short fused warnings and our longer term new “Watch”-like product). Here is the 0-10cm Volumetric soil moisture image from Wednesday, coincident with a moderate outflow (up to 20 kts) that pushed northward from Pima county into Pinal County. Not a strong outflow, but one that can generate enough dust for reduced visibilities (likely not to warning levels).
In this case, with percentages in the 18 to 21 percent range in the origin area and 12 to 14 percent in the path of the outflow, there were no indications whatsoever of reduced visibilities. We will be watching to see if the (relatively) elevated soil moisture in the origin area is any indication of limited potential and strength of blowing dust issues as the season progresses.
We are also trying to incorporate the more shallow volumetric and relative soil moisture levels into heightened awareness for flash flood threat areas daily. More on this later.
About 1.3″ from CIRA versus 22mm (0.86″) for the Tucson area. 12Z sounding showed 1.76″. Add afternoon mixing in there and 1.3″ worked much better. With our typically deep boundary layer and elevated subcloud layer, the individual lower layers of the LPW have also been useful to help determine the threat of dry vs. wet microburst activity with initial convective development.
We continue to evaluate the NESDIS QPE and Passive Microwave Rain Rate imagery. More on this later as well.