Huge storm heads across the US

Feb 01, 2011 By Nancy Atkinson
The GOES-13 satellite captured this image on Jan. 31, 2011 of a major winter storm covering a large portion of the US. Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project

The roads are a skating rink where I live! This visible image was captured by the GOES-13 satellite on January 31, 2011 and it shows the low pressure area bringing snowfall to the Midwest US. Heavy snow is expected today in portions of northern Iowa, southern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Snowfall from the system extends from Michigan west to Montana, Idaho, Utah and Arizona. A mix of rain and snow also stretches into the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, and it is all moving east. This system appears to be as large as 1/3rd of the Continental U.S.

Meanwhile, in another hemisphere on the other side of the world a huge tropical cyclone threatens parts of that has already been suffering from flooding.

The northeastern Australian state of Queensland is now bracing for what could become one of the largest the state has ever seen.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on ’s Aqua captured this infrared image of Yasi on Jan. 31, 2011, at 6:29 a.m. PST (9:29 a.m. EST). The AIRS data create an accurate 3-D map of atmospheric temperature, water vapor and clouds, data that are useful to forecasters. The image shows the temperature of Yasi’s cloud tops or the surface of Earth in cloud-free regions.

The coldest cloud-top temperatures appear in purple, indicating towering cold clouds and heavy precipitation. The infrared signal of AIRS does not penetrate through clouds. Where there are no clouds, AIRS reads the infrared signal from the surface of the ocean waters, revealing warmer temperatures in orange and red.

At the approximate time this image was taken, Yasi had maximum sustained winds near 90 knots (166 kilometers per hour, or 103 mph), equivalent to a Category Two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. It was centered about 1,400 kilometers (875 miles) east of Cairns, Australia, moving west at about 19 knots per hour (35 kilometers per hour, or 22 mph). Cyclone-force winds extend out to 48 kilometers (30 miles) from the center.

Yasi is forecast to move west, then southwestward, into an area of low vertical wind shear (strong wind shear can weaken a storm). Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect Yasi to continue to strengthen over the next 36 hours. The Center forecasts a landfall just south of Cairns as a large 100-plus knot-per-hour (185 kilometers per hour, or 115 mph) system by around midnight local time on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Explore further: Coral reveals long-term link between Pacific winds, global climate

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Alex Stirs Up the Gulf

Jun 30, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Tropical Storm Alex, soon to be a hurricane, churns its way through the western half of the Gulf of Mexico in this NASA infrared image taken Tuesday afternoon, June 29.

Hurricane Igor, unchained, in NASA satellite images

Sep 20, 2010

While its intensity has dropped slightly, massive Hurricane Igor remains a powerful Category Three storm, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 105 knots (115 miles per hour) as it continues on a projected ...

NASA captures Typhoon Nida's clouds from 2 angles

Nov 30, 2009

NASA satellites capture amazing views of tropical cyclones, and the Aqua and CloudSat satellites captured a top-down look at temperatures in Typhoon Nida's clouds, and an image of what they look like from ...

Tropical Depression Erin Soaking East Texas

Aug 16, 2007

Tropical Storm Erin quickly weakened to a tropical depression when she made landfall on the Texas coast near Lamar during the early morning hours of Thursday, August 16, 2007.

Recommended for you

Methane is leaking from permafrost offshore Siberia

14 hours ago

Yamal Peninsula in Siberia has recently become world famous. Spectacular sinkholes, appeared as out of nowhere in the permafrost of the area, sparking the speculations of significant release of greenhouse ...

New discovery in Arctic is a very old clam

14 hours ago

The rapidly thawing Arctic Ocean may be a new frontier but some of the latest news from there concerns a clam that is believed to date back more than a million years.

Barren deserts can host complex ecosystems in their soils

14 hours ago

"Biological soil crusts" don't look like much. In fact, people often trample right over these dark, or green-tinted, sometimes raised patches in the desert soil. But these scruffy stretches can house delicate ...

Researchers on expedition to solve 'small island problem'

15 hours ago

Researchers from the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering are starting their new year with an expedition to the island of South Georgia to carry out research into improving weather forecasting. You can follow the team's progress on their blog. ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

omatumr
2 / 5 (7) Feb 01, 2011
The forces that control Earth's climate seem to be far beyond the understanding of Al Gore, the UN's IPCC and their army of "lock-step, consensus" climatologists.
rgwalther
5 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
I liked the old days before constant weather updates. When I was a kid, we only had weather about once a week; and in Kentucky there was never any weather in Australia.
geokstr
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 01, 2011
I used to live in Beverly Hills 90210. There, weather, clouds, and inconvenience were all illegal, and the laws against them were vigorously enforced.

Those were the days.
ted208
1 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
It's as plain as the nose on your face = Global cooling!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.