5 May 2011

Air Force DMSP Weather Satellite Shows The Darkness After The Storms

Posted by Dan Satterfield

You’ve probably seen some of the city light images from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, but I have a new one to show you. The image below is a composite of the lights after the tornado swarm in Alabama, on Wednesday April 27th, with the lights seen just before. The lights in red are lights that were usually seen, but were missing after the tornadoes took out all of the TVA transmission lines into North AL. I never thought I would be able to see the constellation Orion, rising on the western horizon, from downtown Huntsville but I did a week ago today.

It was that dark. You can see that all of Huntsville and most of North Alabama are without power. Some light was visible in Athens and in the Florence area. The bright lights of Nashville (top of image) and Atlanta (on the right) are clearly visible.

Many thanks to the Air Force Weather Satellite folks, and to Dr. Chris Elvidge with the NOAA Earth Observation Group, at the National Geophysical Data Center, for taking the time to extract the data.