Disasters Program Highlights week of 4/8/19

Suomi NPP VIIRS Tracks Blizzard in the U.S. Midwest

Suomi-NPP VIIRS imagery of the midwest blizzard from 4/13/19. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Suomi-NPP VIIRS imagery of the midwest blizzard from 4/13/19. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

For the second time in a month, an intense spring “bomb cyclone” plastered the Upper Midwest of the United States with snow and wind. While the April storm was not quite as strong as the blizzard in March, several states were hit with more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow and by wind gusts exceeding 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour.

On April 10-12, 2019, whiteout conditions clogged roadways, caused tens of thousands of homes to lose power, and grounded hundreds of flights, according to news reports. South Dakota was one of the hardest hit states, with more than 24 inches (60 centimeters) of snow falling across much of the state.

On April 8 and 13, 2019, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured these false-color images. With this combination of visible and infrared light (bands M11-I2-I1), snow appears light blue and clouds white. Bare land is brown. These data are used to revise or confirm 24-hour forecasts related to weather systems and provide scientists with the "big picture" of sever storms.