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NASA satellite captures stunning imagery of a white landscape in aftermath of Colorado snowstorm

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 6:16pm MDT

NASA satellite imagery shows the Colorado Front Range covered in snow following a snowstorm on Sunday, February 24, 2012.

Up until the past week satellite imagery of northeastern Colorado was relatively boring – and very brown.  In the wake of two storms, one of which was relatively significant, the image from the eyes in the sky changed considerably.

Sunday’s storm brought much-needed precipitation to the drought-stricken area.  Snowfall totals ranged from a high of nearly 27” near Pinecliffe west of Denver to 9.1” in the Mile High City and 6.9 inches in Thornton.

As the storm continued east on Monday it caused havoc on parts of Texas and Oklahoma where blizzard conditions brought that region to a standstill.

NASA’s Terra satellite flew over the Centennial State yesterday after skies had cleared and took pictures from 22,000 miles above.  The imagery clearly shows the snowy landscape of Colorado as well as parts of Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wyoming.


NASA satellite imagery shows parts of nine states covered in snow following a snowstorm on Sunday, February 24, 2012.

From NASA:

Following on the heels of another storm, heavy snow fell on Colorado and neighboring states on February 24, 2013. On February 25, the Denver/Boulder Forecast Office of the National Weather Service reported preliminary snow totals from the area, including 27.2 inches (69.1 centimeters) west of Denver, and blizzard conditions east of the city. Like the previous storm, this one continued moving eastward.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image on February 25, 2013. In the wake of the storms, snow extended across Colorado and Wyoming, and covered parts of Utah, New Mexico, and Nebraska. Although clouds had cleared in the west, cloud cover lingered in southeastern Colorado, western Kansas, and the Oklahoma Panhandle. The day after MODIS acquired this image, a new round of snow moved into the region.


  1. National Weather Service, Denver/Boulder, Colorado. (2013, February 25) Local storm report. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. February 26, 2013.
  2. Sagliani, A. (2013, February 26) Snowstorm clogs Missouri, Illinois highways. AccuWeather.com. Accessed February 26, 2013.

NASA image courtesy LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Michon Scott.


  • Terra – MODIS

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this nighttime view at 1:55 a.m. Central Standard Time on February 23. (NASA)

 From NASA:

In late February 2013, a major snowstorm made its way across the continental United States, dropping snow from Colorado to the Great Lakes region. The National Weather Service reported snow totals of 5 to 8 inches (13 to 20 centimeters) in many parts of the Central Plains and Upper Mississippi River Valley. Some parts of the Central Plains experienced snowfall rates as high as 4 inches (10 centimeters) per hour, along with thundersnow.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this nighttime view at 1:55 a.m. Central Standard Time on February 23. This imagery is from the VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared. The day-night band takes advantage of moonlight, airglow, and starlight to brighten the landscape and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as city lights and snow cover. On the night of this image, the Moon was nearly full.

City lights glow like clusters of stars against a backdrop of grey and black in this image. The snow appears medium gray, and stretches from northern Texas to the Dakotas,and from the Rocky Mountain states eastward past Chicago. When VIIRS acquired this image, snow cover across multiple states had persisted since theprevious night.


  1. National Weather Service, La Crosse, Wisconsin. (2013, February 23) Winter Storm February 21–22, 2013. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. February 25, 2013.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using VIIRS day-night band data from theSuomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Michon Scott.


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