North America is served by two weather observing geosynchronous satellites. That big word means they orbit the earth at the exact same “rate” as the rotation of the earth. So if you could see them from the ground (you can’t, they are 22,000 miles up!), they would appear to sit in the same spot 24 hours a day. Thus we get a constant view of cloud cover and other data. You can see the view from the satellites in the image above. One is usually located off the West Coast (GOES-WEST or #12) and one along the East Coast (GOES-EAST or #13). That 2nd one suddenly went out of service this morning and was put into some sort of “safe mode”. Luckily it didn’t affect us here on the west coast because our satellite is working just fine. And, luckily, there has been a spare GOES satellite sitting over the middle of the country. NOAA engineers just announced that it’s now in service. That little guy has been sitting out in space for a few years waiting for his big moment and it’s here! Here’s the note I got from our data provider, WSI, this afternoon:
ATTENTION WSI SATELLITE IMAGERY USERS:
NESDIS/NOAA Engineers have switched satellite ingest to GOES-14. GOES-13 (EAST) remains out of service pending more investigation. GOES-14 is centered at 105 degrees west longitude so satellite coverage will be limited over the central and eastern Atlantic Ocean, but coverage over the CONUS will be complete. WSI will update this message if/when GOES-13 returns to service.
You can see the location of the standby satellite on the image below:
By the way, GOES-14 (the spare) is not one of the new GOES-R satellites. Those get launched in 3-4 years. They have far higher resolution, lightning detectors, and some other new toys.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen