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28 September 2011

Mid-Latitude Cyclone over the United States


(Click on image for larger view.)

At 3:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 26, 2011, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite observed a mid-latitude cyclone over the midwestern United States. The center of the storm appeared immediately west of Lake Michigan.
The Capital Weather Gang at The Washington Post reported that the storm was at its most mature stage. Sporting a comma shape spanning hundreds of kilometers, the storm was comprised of a combination of warm, moist air (clouds) and cold, dry air (cloud-free areas).
Justin Berk, a meteorologist based in Baltimore, explains that in this region, “cold air eventually wins out and wraps completely around a storm. This is called a ‘cold core’ storm and has cut itself off from the main flow of the jet stream.” This, says Berk, is why the storm appears stalled near Chicago.
An animation of the storm from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) tracks the storm’s progress from September 25th to the 27th.
  1. References

  2. Samenow, J. (2011, September 27). An immaculate mid-latitude cyclone and its decay. Capital Weather Gang. The Washington Post. Accessed September 27, 2011.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Animation from the NASA/NOAA GOES Project Science Team. Caption by Michon Scott.
Instrument: 
Aqua - MODIS - NASA