Fires and Dust in the Southern Plains and Southwest

Conditions have been very warm and dry lately in parts of the Southern Plains and the Southwest.  This has resulted in a few blowing dust events and over the last 24 hours or so, and some very large grass fires in the open prairie.  Take a look at this loop of GOES 3.9 um imagery from 1655 UTC to 2115 UTC today, to see this rapid expansion of a very large fire ongoing on the Oklahoma/Kansas border, encompassing Comanche, Barber and Woods Counties.  The black colors represent the fire hot spots developing and expanding in the very dry and windy conditions.  In fact, widespread wind gusts around 40 to 50 mph were common in the region today.


Image 1. GOES 3.9 um loop from 1655 to 2115 UTC 23rd March 2016.


This fire even showed quite up well last night in the Suomi NPP VIIRS Day-Night Band imagery.


Image 2. Suomi VIIRS Day-Night Band Radiance RGB, 0818 UTC 23rd March 2016. The white circle indicates the location of the large grass fire in Woods and Comanche Counties.

Interestingly, the smoke from these grass fires is apparently not sufficiently dense or reflective to show up very well in the nighttime visible imagery.  Only a faint wisp of smoke can be seen extending to the NE of the fire in the prevailing direction of the surface wind last night.

Meanwhile, the Dust RGB showed significant dust plumes in and around the region…


Image 3. Suomi NPP VIIRS Dust RGB, 1946 UTC 23rd March 2016. Circles indicate areas of blowing dust evident in the Dust RGB. At this time, blowing dust was reported in Lubbock, TX and Hobbs, NM (not shown).


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