Categories: Earth Observation

Record Setting US Snowstorm as Seen From Space

A record-setting snowstorm that blanketed the US Atlantic coast snarled both road and air traffic as holiday travelers and shoppers were forced to stay home. In all, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported 66 daily snow records in the northeastern United States were tied or broken over the weekend. Additionally, 21 monthly snow total records were tied or broken. Snowfall totals from 30 – 60 cm (1 to 2 feet) were commonplace.

This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite shows the Chesapeake Bay area cloaked in white on December 21, 2009, the first day of northern hemisphere winter. The winter solstice occurred Monday at 16:47 GMT (11:47 am EST). Learn more about the solstice on today’s 365 Days of Astronomy podcast, “December Solstice, Celebrating the Light” by Dr. Judith Young.

The image above encompasses about 480 km (300 miles) lengthwise. The two big rivers near the center are the Susquehanna (north) and Potomac rivers, which flow into the Chesapeake Bay. Washington, D.C., sits alongside the Potomac, just north of the river’s hook-shaped curve. The inlet to the north is Delaware Bay.

Source: NASA’s Earth Observatory

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

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