Jaw-dropping views of today’s storm, known as a “Texas Hooker”

The storm system responsible for today’s tornado watch and squall line in the D.C. area – known affectionately as a “Texas Hooker*”  – took on an absolutely stunning appearance from space.

Check out these two views of the storm – from two different satellites – taken right around the time the worst of the storms were passing through D.C.’s eastern suburbs:

From the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) blog – from a polar orbiter:


Near-infrared view of the storm at 1 p.m. today from the Suomi-NPP satellite (CIMSS Satellite blog)

And from NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory – from a geostationary orbiter:


View of the storm at 12:45 p.m. ET today, from the GOES East satellite (NOAA)

Slate’s Eric Holthaus explains how “Texas Hookers” got their name:

… they are essentially a result of the local topography of the western Plains. By a chance alignment of the jetstream, colder than normal air from the Arctic, and warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, these storms can quickly grow into monsters. The storms then “hook” to the northeast, making a beeline for the area between Minneapolis and Chicago.

Although the heart of this storm raced into the Great Lakes, its associated cold front charged across the Mid-Atlantic. Such “hookers” can leave quite the footprint.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Jason Samenow · February 21, 2014