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This true-color image of the Northeast United States was taken February 20, 2003, two days after record snowfalls blanketed the area. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite took the image.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA

Snow Blankets the Eastern United States!
News story originally written on March 5, 2003

Last winter there was very little snow in the Northeast United States but this winter there is tons of the white fluffy stuff! Several huge snowstorms have dumped feet of snow in places like Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.

So what caused all this snow? The answer is in the air! Air may not look like much, but changes in air pressure over the Atlantic Ocean can cause snowy weather a few thousand miles away in New York!

A low-pressure system over the North Atlantic brings cold air down from the Arctic. It mixes with a high-pressure system that pulls moist air up from the warm tropics. The warm moist air hits the cold air from the Arctic producing snowstorms, some of which roll towards the East coast. During some winters, these pressure systems can become very strong producing plenty of snow. This is one of those winters!


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA