Forecaster Lament

February 07, 2002


Provided by: NASA/GSFC, ORBIMAGE, SeaWiFS Project
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

There is often a fine line between busting a forecast and nailing it on the head. The snow storm that hit the upper Mid-West last Friday was their biggest storm of the winter. Chicago received upwards of a foot (30 cm) of snow. Those forecasters who predicted snow for the southern suburbs of Chicago may have lamented about a "near miss," and satellite imagery would have supported their claims. The above SeaWiFS satellite image, taken on February 4, shows an amazingly distinct snow/no snow boundary across Missouri, Illinois, northwestern Indiana, and southern Michigan. Note the snow-enhanced drainage patterns in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois, and the north to south "lake effect" clouds over the Great Lakes. These snow-laden clouds produced vigorous squalls. Also note that in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Canada, the snow cover isn't as bright as it is across northern Illinois since dense forests partially conceal the underlying snow. For more about this storm, see the Earth Science Picture of the Day for this past Monday, February 4.

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