WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Our Snow from Space

Posted February 1, 2010

Aqua MODIS imagery showing snow and ice cover across the U.S., along with clouds, around midday on Sunday Jan 31, 2010.

The winter storm that crossed our region Friday into Saturday left quite the swath of snow and ice behind, not just around here but stretching all the way back into the central plains states as it tracked along. Once drier air moved in and clouds dissipated along much of that band on Sunday, satellite images began showing nicely the areas that had a bright coating left behind, and I've collected three of those here. They are all made by compositing image bands captured by NASA's Aqua satellite, a polar orbiter capable of high resolution, true color imagery.

The first picture shows the entire U.S., and you can clearly make out the snow and ice cover that starts around the Texas panhandle and extends to the east coast in a band that is about 1-300 miles wide north to south. The second image is a closer view of the eastern U.S., allowing a little more detail to show, including the way the precipitation kind of faded to freezing rain and rain across southeastern parts of our state, and the way the northern edge of the snow shield over the eastern U.S. cuts off rather sharply around Maryland. Also note that the bright white areas over South Carolina in this picture is cloud cover, while most of NC is clear.

Below that, we zoom way in to a view of Raleigh and it's immediate surroundings, again covered in white. It's a little hard to pick out specific communities in this image, but you can orient yourself by the larger lakes that are clearly visible, those being (more or less top to center) Kerr, Falls, Jordan and Harris. All these images were available from a nice satellite image server system called NEXSAT, which you can peruse yourself at the link I've included.

Finally, the Raleigh NWS office has released an accumulation map summarizing results from the storm, the final image in the group of four. You've probably heard that there could be more to come in the way of wintry weather late this week - so far, as of Monday morning, it hasn't become very clear yet whether it will feature much in the way of snow around here, or more of a wintry mix that includes a notable amount of rain.


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