Skip to main content

Cloud Streets and Gravity Waves Seen From GOES-East

November 19, 2020

From Nov. 17–18, 2020, NOAA’s GOES-East viewed cloud streets that were generated by a northwesterly wind over the Great Lakes and Northeast, which is a fairly common setup during late fall and early winter. With a classic cold air pattern such as this one, a dense cold air mass interacts with relatively warmer land or water, which then causes rotating air currents that line up in the direction of the prevailing winds. This week, the interaction generated parallel bands of cumulus clouds, or cloud streets , over the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Maine to the Carolinas.

The wind over the Great Lakes also brought light snow, with accumulations of up to 1” in some places in Michigan , with Detroit seeing wind speeds of 30 mph on Nov. 17. By the 18th, some locations in western New York woke up to more than 3” of snow. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the Eastern U.S. saw much colder-than-normal temperatures up and down the Eastern Seaboard, going as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the Charlottesville area.

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.