The SATCAST algorithm produces 0-1 hour forecasts (i.e. "nowcasts") of new storms, specifically the occurrence of radar/rainfall echoes of 35 dBZ intensity or greater, which is a heavy rain shower. Some of these storms will produce lightning. The colored objects are growing cumulus clouds within the GOES imagery. Their growth is monitored over successive 7-15 min images in GOES data, using infrared temperature fields. The infrared fields help measure cloud growth rates, cloud depths, and if a cloud has ice or water particles at cloud top (usually the transition to ice leads to increased precipitation production, and suggests an occurrence of lightning). The colors, so-called "strength of signal" (SS), represent increasing likelihoods that a 35 dBZ echo (i.e. a heavy rain shower) will occur from a given cloud object. For objects with SS values <40 (blue colors), one can interpret these as relatively un-developed clouds, or cumulus clouds with small spatial dimensions, and therefore less likely to make significant rain in the coming 30-60 min. Warmer (orange, red) colored objects instead imply taller, more rapidly growing cumulus clouds that therefore have a >75-80% change of becoming a storm in the coming 30-60 min. One needs to note the motion of a given object so to estimate the ground location where the rain will fall.

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