On April 28, 2021, the GOES East satellite watched a massive supercell—and some relatively smaller ones around it—as they pushed across south-central Texas. This imagery is a combination of infrared and visible light channels known as a “sandwich loop,” which results in a multi-dimensional image that allows meteorologists and researchers to better identify key aspects of a thunderstorm as it moves and intensifies.
The National Weather Service issued numerous severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings across the region as the thunderstorms developed and strengthened. The storms produced damaging winds and very large hail, some to the size of softballs and baseballs in areas. A tornado may also have touched down 11 miles west of Hondo, Texas.
The GOES East geostationary satellite, also known as GOES-16, keeps watch over most of North America, including the continental United States and Mexico, as well as Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west coast of Africa. The satellite's high-resolution imagery provides optimal viewing of severe weather events, including thunderstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes.