Dust from West Texas Duststorm reaches Wisconsin!

It appears that yesterday’s strong storm that tracked from Kansas into Iowa lifted
dust from West Texas and brought it all the way to southern Wisconsin this morning.
We received the following message this morning from Racine County.

"I am writing to ask if you received any reports of airborne dust settling on cars after the fog burned off this morning? All of the vehicles <at our>  site in Sturtevant, Wisconsin are coated with dust. This created a concern for our employees. Any insight you can give me would be greatly appreciated."

Below are satellite images (courtesy CIMSS) that show quite a bit of blowing dust yesterday afternoon from New Mexico into west Texas. Wind gusts around 60 mph were recorded in that area from the west.



The surface map from Thursday afternoon (below) shows a deep low pressure area moving from Kansas toward southeast Nebraska. This is the same low that produced heavy rains across southern Wisconsin and brisk east winds off Lake Michigan. A large area of strong southwest winds were located south of the low from the southern Plains into middle Mississippi River valley. When the low moved into Iowa this morning, the southwest winds apparently pushed the dust layer into southern Wisconsin.


More information is available from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison


The following was written by Scott Bachmeier of CIMSS (SSEC, UW Madison)
A significant blowing dust event was noted yesterday (10 April) over parts of New Mexico  and Texas. There happened to be a timely overpass of the polar-orbiting Terra satellite at 17:20 UTC, and the Terra MODIS imagery acquired over the developing blowing dust plume helps to demonstrate the utility of the MODIS "cirrus detection" channel for detecting features such as blowing dust (this channel is very sensitive to airborne particles that are *efficient scatterers* of light, which includes ice crystals, dust, haze, or volcanic ash). I placed some examples of the MODIS imagery on our CIMSS Satellite Blog:
This case was also of interest since the dust plume was then advected all the way to northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin within a 24-hour period -- rumor has it that there were some public reports of "dirty rain" over far southeastern Wisconsin on the morning of 11 April... 

A similar dust event is documented in following link from December 16, 2003


Jeff Craven,  Science and Operations Officer


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