Watch the snowy and cold winter in the USA as time-lapse

A new time-lapse animation of data from NOAA’s GOES-East satellite provides a good picture of why the U.S. East Coast experienced a snowier than normal winter. The new animation shows the movement of storms from January 1 to March 24.

NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites or GOES-East imagery from January 1 to March 24 was compiled into three videos made by NASA/NOAA’s GOES Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The time-lapse videos run at different speeds: 0:41 seconds, 1:22 minutes and 2:44 minutes.

The movie of mid-day views from NOAA’s GOES-East satellite ends three days after the vernal equinox. The vernal, or spring, equinox in the Northern Hemisphere occurred on March 20 at 12:57 p.m. EDT and marked the meteorological arrival of spring.

“The once-per-day imagery creates a stroboscopic slide show of persistent brutal winter weather,” said Dennis Chesters of the NASA/NOAA GOES Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. who created the animation.

To create the video and imagery, NASA/NOAA’s GOES Project takes the cloud data from NOAA’s GOES-East satellite and overlays it on a true-color image of land and ocean created by data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites. Together, those data created the entire picture of the storm and show its movement. After the storm system passes, the snow on the ground becomes visible.

According to NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), as of the first day of spring Washington, D.C. had received 30.3 inches of snow for the 2013-2014 winter season. Washington’s average winter snowfall is 15.3 inches, so the snowfall for the Nation’s Capital was almost double that, exceeding it by 15.0 inches. An early spring snow on March 25 is expected to add to that total.

Further north in Boston, Mass. snowfall totals were even higher. The NWS reported that since July 1, 2013, 58.6 inches of snow had fallen in Boston. The average snowfall is 40.8 inches, so Boston was 17.8 inches over normal snowfall.

The big snow story this winter has been across the Great Lakes region which has also seen record amounts of snowfall.  According to NWS in Buffalo, the city has received 121.7 inches, or more than 10 feet of snow, as of March 24. Chicago has received 80 inches of snow which is more than double their annual snowfall amount of 34.4 inches.

GOES satellites provide the kind of continuous monitoring necessary for intensive data analysis. Geostationary describes an orbit in which a satellite is always in the same position with respect to the rotating Earth. This allows GOES to hover continuously over one position on Earth’s surface, appearing stationary. As a result, GOES provide a constant vigil for the atmospheric “triggers” for severe weather conditions such as tornadoes, flash floods, hail storms and hurricanes.

Related Links: 

For the small semi-HDTV version that runs 0:41 seconds, visit:

For the medium HDTV version that runs 1:22 minutes, visit:

For the large HDTV version that runs 2:44 minutes visit:

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Jean Parisot
March 28, 2014 12:17 am

Wow, Al Gore gets around.

James Bull
March 28, 2014 4:10 am

All we got here in the UK was rain,rain and more rain and a bunch of eco nuts running our flood defenses and more fools trying to tell ua it was global warming what dun it!
James Bull

March 28, 2014 11:29 am

“The vernal, or spring, equinox in the Northern Hemisphere occurred on March 20 at 12:57 p.m. EDT and marked the meteorological arrival of spring.”
Doesn’t meteorological spring begin March 1?

Mac the Knife
March 28, 2014 11:49 am

Frost depths in central Wisconsin (Green Lake, Waushara, Fon du lac, and Winnebago counties) varied from 4 feet to +7 feet deep, just 2 weeks ago. This info was gleaned from construction/excavation sources and local municipality reports of water and sewer line problems.
The variability in frost depth is significantly effected by the depth of snow over the soil surface. More snow acts as an insulation ‘blanket’ over the soil, reducing the depth of frost penetration during the extended winter season. Paved roads/driveways that remain plowed/cleared for most of the winter and hilltops regularly swept bare of snow by the wind have the greatest depths of frost below.
And now you know how Lambeau Field (home of the Green Bay Packers) acquired the nickname
The Frozen Tundra!

March 28, 2014 12:42 pm

If you refer to Spring” as the time that days finally become longer than nights, equal day and night actually occurs on St. Patrick’s Day, where there are exactly 12 hours of “over the horizon” sunshine and 12 hours of no sun visible. Simply put, the Sun is not a pinpoint, but has a visible half degree angular diameter, so at sunrise, we see the Western (as seen at midday) edge of the Sun first, and at sunset, the Eastern edge last slips under the horizon.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Johannesburg
March 28, 2014 3:24 pm

Quite correct. At the Vernal Equinox, sunrise and sunset are not 12 hours apart.

March 28, 2014 6:51 pm

Regarding the floods in UK, I read that one of the pump stations was out of order, is this correct? If it had been working properly those floods could have been averted.

March 28, 2014 7:04 pm

What a horror movie.

Mac the Knife
March 28, 2014 7:33 pm

Andres Valencia says:
March 28, 2014 at 7:04 pm
Wow! What a horror movie.
Not a ‘horror movie’ at all. This is how life, in its myriad forms, has adapted and thrives in temperate to cold climates. Lots of us across the planet call this ‘normal’. It makes for very tough, independent citizens that, like the ant in the classic parable, plan ahead for the challenges that each season brings and love the ever changing variety that each brings! We embrace the climate diversity!

March 28, 2014 8:43 pm

re: Mac the Knife says March 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm
…Not a ‘horror movie’ at all. This is how life, in its myriad forms, has adapted and thrives in temperate to cold climates.
Should be added: on account of that being thrown out of the ‘Garden of Eden’ thing so many years ago …
Didn’t know you were a ‘Cheese head’ Mac. I have a sister who is presently a cheese head and living near Stevens Point, in Rudolf; her and hubby and one last offspring (who still hasn’t left the nest yet) plus 4 birds (sev. grays and a McCaw). Her new dog (got it as a pup, so it needed a lot of outdoor obedience training) made this last winter bearable (read that as: a welcome distraction from the weather you guys had this winter!)

March 31, 2014 12:10 am

Bush bunny, that has been said. But so have many other things. Such as the rivers weren’t dredged because the envinmentalists didn’t want the local wildlife / natural ecology disturbed!

March 31, 2014 12:16 am

I did a version of the same for the UK, but with a musical note for each days air pressure in using scientific pitch notation.

The Atlantic low pressure systems in early November reach sonorous levels; those summer high pressure reach trebles…
Could it catch on as a supplement to the weather forecast (I doubt it!).

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