White Christmas in the Midwest


A NASA satellite image shows the reach of a massive snowstorm that blanketed much of the Midwestern U.S. last weekend.

Dreaming of a White Christmas? This satellite image shows what it would look like from more than 400 miles up. The picture, snapped on Sunday by NASA’s Terra satellite, shows the aftermath of a massive snowstorm that walloped the Midwestern U.S. last weekend before wreaking havoc further east.

Although snowy weather is the norm this time of year in the Midwest, this one was a monster. The 17.1 inches of white stuff measured at the Twin Cities International Airport in Minnesota set a record for the largest December storm in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region and was the fifth-largest snowstorm ever recorded in the state, according to the state’s climatology office.

Minnesota wasn’t the only state impacted by the winter blast. A significant part of about a dozen states can be seen blanketed in snow in this true-color image by Terra’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer, or MODIS.

The storm, for football fans at least, will be most remembered for causing the collapse of the inflatable roof on the Metrodome, home to the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. The incident forced a planned Sunday game between the Vikings and the New York Giants to be moved to Monday night in Detroit. The Vikings lost, 21-3.

Terra’s big-picture view of the storm is part of the Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar, which is highlighting images of Earth from space every day until Christmas. For more Advent calendar goodies, check out the Web links below:

* The Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar so far * Door 1 for Dec. 1: Shuttle in spotlight * Door 2 for Dec. 2: ‘Alien’ lake seen from space * Door 3 for Dec. 3: Egypt’s river of light * Door 4 for Dec. 4: Tallest building reaches for the sky * Door 5 for Dec. 5: Russia’s dazzling delta * Door 6 for Dec. 6: Space skipper vs. the world * Door 7 for Dec. 7: Pearl Harbor from the heavens * Door 8 for Dec. 8: Listening for E.T. * Door 9 for Dec. 9: Blast from the past * Door 10 for Dec. 10: Volcano caught in the act * Door 11 for Dec. 11: Chronicling climate change * Door 12 for Dec. 12: Happy St. Lucy’s Day * Door 13 for Dec. 13: Viva Las Vegas * Door 14 for Dec. 14: Don’t wake the volcanoes * Door 15 for Dec. 15: Stairways to heaven * The Big Picture at Boston.com: Hubble Advent calendar * Planetary Society: Solar system Advent calendar * Zooniverse Advent calendar

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Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the “like” button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following msnbc.com’s science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).

URL: http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/16/5660254-holiday-calendar-white-christmas-in-the-midwest?chromedomain=cosmiclog

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