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Three Atmospheric “Dragons”: Low Pressure Areas Around the U.S.

There are three low pressure systems around the U.S. and they resemble dragons on satellite imagery. NOAA’s GOES-13 and GOES-15 satellite image from March 31 shows the low pressure systems in the eastern Pacific Ocean, over the nation’s Heartland, and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. All three lows have the signature comma shape that make them appear to be curled up dragons.

According to the National Weather Service, the low pressure area approaching the northwestern U.S. is expected to bring rainfall to the coast and areas of snow that stretch from western Washington state south toward the four corners region. The low in the middle of the country is located over Nebraska and dropping snow to the north and west of it. That same low is bringing rain from southern Minnesota south to eastern Texas. Meanwhile, the third low pressure system is bringing rain and snow to parts of New England.

NOAA’s GOES-East satellite sits in a fixed orbit in space capturing visible and infrared imagery of all weather over the eastern U.S. and Atlantic Ocean.

The data to create this image was taken on March 31 at 17:45 UTC/1:45 p.m. EDT by NOAA’s GOES-East or GOES-13 satellite and made into an image by NASA/NOAA’s GOES Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

To create the image 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.

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.

For updated information about the storm system, visit NOAA’s NWS website:www.weather.gov

 

For more information about GOES satellites, visit: www.goes.noaa.gov/ or goes.gsfc.nasa.gov/

 

Rob Gutro

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.