CloudSat made a nighttime overpass (approximately 0630 UTC) of the thunderstorms responsible for the tornadic outbreak over Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi on Tuesday, February 5, 2008. This extensive tornado outbreak, which is responsible for more than 50 fatalities and billions of dollars in damage, occurred in the late evening and throughout the night of the 5th into the 6th of February.
The upper image is a nighttime color infrared image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites with an overlay of CloudSat's descending track. CloudSat transited the region from north to south, and captured the convective outbreaks over Kentucky and Tennessee, then observed the convection over eastern Mississippi. The lower image combines CloudSat QuickLook images from segments 28 and 29 taken from CloudSat granule number 9450. The intensity of the convection is particularly evident in the CloudSat image—large regions of radar attenuation are seen (represented by a lack of surface signal return in the radar image) as well as evidence of multiple scattering (seen in the radar image as a sub-surface return) due to the large hail present in these systems.
Storm reports from this outbreak are available online from NOAA-SPC: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/reports/080205_rpts.html
Quicklook Images can viewed at the CloudSat Data Processing Center.
IR image courtesy of NCAR-RAL (http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/satellite/).