An atmospheric river has drenched California with heavy rain and mountain snow this week, triggering flash floods, mudslides, and winter storm warnings in the Sierra Nevada. The conveyor belt of clouds and moisture stretching across the Pacific easily stands out in this Feb. 14, 2019 image from NOAA's newly operational GOES West (GOES-17) satellite.
Clouds in the sky are constantly in motion, allowing them to take on all kinds of interesting shapes. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, we're sharing a heart-shaped cloud pattern seen from NOAA's GOES East satellite during a powerful nor'easter that barreled up the U.S. East Coast on March 13, 2018.
Clouds blanket much of the central and eastern United States as a sprawling winter storm moves across the country. This image, seen by NOAA's GOES East satellite on Feb. 6, 2019 (10 a.m. ET), shows the developing storm system that is bringing a mix of rain, snow and ice to many states east of the Rockies.
The winter solstice, the official start of astronomical winter, arrives at 5:23 p.m. Eastern Time on December 21. At this exact moment, Earth's Northern Hemisphere reaches its greatest possible tilt away from the sun, and the sun's strongest rays shine on the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5°S latitude). For the 90 percent of Earth's population that lives north of the equator, the December solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year.
December is the beginning of summer in Earth's Southern Hemisphere. The long days and abundant sunlight help millions of tiny plant-like organisms, called phytoplankton, grow in nutrient-rich coastal waters.
For much of 2018, satellite images have shown the Eastern U.S.
It's not often that the Mid-Atlantic and southern Appalachians get buried under a foot of snow in early December. But that's what happened last weekend (Dec. 8-9), when a moisture-packed winter storm walloped the region with record-setting snowfall. Now that the storm has moved offshore and skies have finally cleared, we can see the snowy aftermath from space.