In a famous fictional journal, as Johnathan Harker started upon his journey to Bistritz, Romania in search of Castle Dracula he penned “I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting.”
Although the brilliance of Bram Stoker brought us these words 123 years ago in his classic book Dracula, the description is truly timeless. On November 11, 2020 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image that gave the foreboding quote new life. On that day, cloud thoroughly shrouded all the land around the Carpathians as low cloud (fog) crept into the valleys of the mountains themselves, leaving only part of the higher elevations peeking through. A small circle of clear sky also could be seen over Romania, near the southern border of the Transylvania region.
From west to east in this image, cloud covers parts of Hungary, Romania, Moldova, and the Black Sea. However, the entire vast, thick cloud shroud stretched from the middle of Sweden to the middle of the Black Sea, a distance of more than 2,100 miles (3,380 km).