Record rains have caused some of the most extensive flooding ever seen in Baton Rouge, La., and surrounding areas that has led to the deaths of seven people and the flooding of an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 homes — including the governor’s mansion. Members of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System are ESL-satellitewatching the event closely using various ocean observing tools, including satellite imagery.

This cloud-top temperature animation by Alaric S. Haag, Systems Administrator in the Earth Scan Laboratory (ESL) at Louisiana State University, was created using thermal infrared imagery every 15 minutes from the NOAA GOES-East weather satellite. It shows what happened between Aug. 5 and Aug. 16, when a low-pressure system combined with tropical moisture, unleashing what some meteorologists have called an “inland tropical depression.” (The red dot seen in the animation is Baton Rouge.)

The main rain event occurred between Aug. 11 and 13 with extremely strong atmospheric convection over Louisiana and the highest clouds reaching temperatures below negative 75 degrees Celsius (orange/red colors).

ESL generates a number of real-time atmospheric products using this data, especially during hurricane season. (

The ESL started working with Louisiana’s Office of Emergency Preparedness in 1995 to track tropical storms and hurricanes in the Northwest Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to help emergency managers. Agencies such as the National Weather Service and NOAA also use ESL products. The Lab’s real-time capture system for GOES-East data has been used for hurricane tracking and also for tracking the Loop Current and ocean eddies for safer oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.