March 9, 2014 - Snow in the midwestern United States

Snow in the midwestern United States

An unusually heavy winter storm blew across the United States in early March, 2014. The storm brought much needed rain to California on February 28 before trekking towards the central US on March 1-2, then on to the Mid-Atlantic and northeast on March 3. It even impacted as far south as the Gulf Coast states, dropping temperatures and bringing an icy coating to the roads. At one time, the wintery mix of snow, rain, freezing rain and ice stretched from southeastern Colorado to Massachusetts – about 1,500 miles (2,400 km).

The storm killed at least 12 people, caused hundreds of accidents on icy roads and shut down numerous schools, as well as federal offices in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. According to several reports, over 3,000 flights were cancelled and at least 10,000 flights were delayed across the United States, with most of the delays focused in the mid-Atlantic region on March 2. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of the midwestern United States on March 3, as the clouds were clearing after Titan dumped snow across the region.

Snow stretches from Canada southward to Tennessee (southeast), Arkansas and Oklahoma, but snow is very light in the northwest section of the image, indicating that the storm moved more southerly. Lake Superior (north) and Lake Michigan are heavily iced over, with little open water visible, an indication of the cold temperatures this winter. Light clouds remain the northwestern states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin). The band of heavy cloud covering Tennessee and Virginia are part of Titan, and were dropping heavy over those states at the time this image was captured.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 3/3/2014
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC