Satellite reveals footprint of Sunday's snow

Can pick up snow when skies are clear


ROANOKE, Va – Tuesday afternoon's visible satellite imagery revealed a gorgeous sight, the snow on the ground from Sunday's winter storm.

Visible satellite requires light in order to work, which is why it is called visible satellite. At night, these satellites are useless because light is needed. Think of it just like how a camera taking a picture works. In this case the sun is the light the satellite needs.

In the picture, the white colors over the ocean are the clouds the satellite is seeing. The brighter the white, the thicker cloud is because more sunlight is being reflected back to the satellite. There are also clouds located in the northern tier of the country. If this picture was a loop rather than a still image, the clouds would be moving, but the white over the Carolinas and Virginia would not be. Why? Because that blob is snow.

Snow is highly reflective. Skiers and those driving after a snowstorm know this. On a clear day, because the clouds would be obstructing the satellite's view of the ground, the satellite can "see" the snow pack. By Tuesday all of the clouds from Sunday and Monday moved off the coast giving the region crystal clear skies leaving us with this beautiful image.



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