November 9, 2013 - Autumn snow in the western United States

Autumn snow in the western United States

An autumn storm brought gusty winds and heavy snow across much of the western United States in late October, 2013. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over the region on October 31 and captured a true-color image of the lingering snow across the southwestern United States. Highly reflective snow appears bright white, and can be seen covering the higher elevations in the mountains of Nevada, to the west in Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, and in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.

High winds and strong gusts, accompanied by snow and rain were reported in parts of the southwest on October 28 as the storm blew in. According to Weather Underground, powerful wind gusts knocked over big rigs on a stretch of California highway, toppled trees in Las Vegas and raised dust storm warnings in some areas. A 103 mph (209 km/h) gust was recorded near Lake Tahoe, which sits on the border of California and Nevada and can be seen ringed by snow in the image.

As the storm pulled away on October 29, 18 inches (46 cm) of snow was reported at the top of the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe region. Other resorts in that area reported anywhere from 9-29 inches (23 - 74 cm) of total snowfall above 8,000 feet. The Wasatch Mountains in Utah reported 6-12 inch (15-30 cm) totals above 7,000 feet.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 10/31/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC