Satellite View of U.S. East Coast Snowstorm

March 10, 2009


Photographer: MODIS/Earth Observatory
Summary Author: Jim Foster, Dorothy Hall

The image above shows a view of the aftermath of last week's (March 2 and 3) snowstorm along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. It was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor using its visible and near infrared wavelengths. MODIS is one of the 5 sensors onboard the Terra satellite. Most major urban areas recorded upwards of 6" (15 cm) of snow and in some locales more than a foot (30 cm) of snow was measured. Snow covered the ground from Georgia through Maine, and in the Middle Atlantic States, this was the biggest snowfall of the season. Following the storm, temperatures plummeted into the single digits (below -13 C) as far south as Virginia. However, by week's end (March 7), temperatures in areas blanketed by snow just a few days prior, soared into the 60s and 70s F (above 20 C). Cloud streets in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Mid Atlantic coastline, show the northwest trajectory of the winds on the date the image was taken -- March 4, 2009.