I don’t expect we will see very many clouds right on through the 4th of July holiday as a strong and stable ridge of high pressure stays put across the western US. High temperatures will range from the mid-to-upper 90s for the next week, with 100 degrees a slight possibility here and there. All that heat may allow a few clouds to pop up here and there, but it looks like the possibility of thunderstorms is pretty slight.
The new GOES-R satellite, now undergoing testing, will not only have improved imagery, but it will also be able to detect lightning…a first operational lightning detection system that shows not only cloud to ground strikes (which current ground-based systems detect), but cloud to cloud strikes as well. The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) actually works on a fairly simple principal: Whenever lightning occurs, a flash can be picked by visual sensors on the GLM, and that gets mapped and the information is beamed down to us. Increases in lightning activity can signal a strengthening storm, and can be critical in issuing storm and tornado warnings earlier.
But maybe the best thing about the new satellite isn’t just what it does…but how often it does it. More on that tomorrow.