November 20, 2023 - Record-setting Snow in Alaska

Heavy snow in Alaska

A thick layer of newly-fallen snow shone brightly across south-central Alaska on November 14, 2023, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this true-color image. Sunlight reflecting off the snow appears intensely white—much whiter than the clouds crossing the scene. Mountainous terrain creates blue-tinted shadows on the brilliant white snow. Cloud hangs over the Cook Inlet as well at the city of Anchorage, which is located at the head of Cook Inlet.

South-central Alaska has seen several bouts of heavy snowfall. One storm delivered a walloping 18 inches (46 cm) to Anchorage between November 8-9. On November 14, a National Weather Service meteorologist advised reporters that Anchorage had received a total of 37.9 inches (96.3 cm) this month alone, coming close to the city’s all-time record for total snow during the month of November, which is 38.8 inches (98.6 cm). A squall dropped more snow on November 17, bringing the total snow accumulation to 39.1 inches (99.3 cm), enough to beat the previous record, which was set in 1994.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 11/14/2023
Resolutions: 1km (1.1 MB), 500m (2.8 MB), 250m (2.1 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC