Visible Satellite Animation Of
Thunderstorms Stretching From North Dakota to Wisconsin
The atmosphere moves on a time scale that is too slow for the human eye to completely capture its beautiful, fluid motions. NWS meteorologists routinely use the looping feature of our computer systems to animate any number of remote sensing images or observations. One of the most useful to animate is high resolution, visible satellite imagery. Head over to our "Jetstream" education pages to learn about satellites.
Below is a short, but fast loop of visible satellite images looking at the rapid development of thunderstorms from North Dakota, east to northern Wisconsin during the late afternoon and early evening of July 17, 2011. A few things stand out right away. Note the overshooting tops on the main thunderstorms (they are the boiling bumps on the tops of the storms.) The rapid speed of the loop makes all of the associated movements within and around the storms stand out. Also note how the subsidence, or sinking air, around the storms over North Dakota causes the lower clouds around it to dissipate. Click the image for the 3.5 mb animated loop.
Below is a schematic of a classic supercell. Note the overshooting top!