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20 December 2011

GOES Satellite Sees Strong Front Bringing Blizzard Conditions to U.S. Southwest


Image acquired December 19, 2011

A strong low pressure area in the southwestern U.S. today is bringing snowfall there as NOAA's GOES-13 satellite captured its associated clouds. Blizzard warnings are already posted for some areas.

The image was created on Dec. 19 at 19:10 UTC (2:10 p.m. EST) from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite called GOES-13. GOES-13 is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Images and animations are created by NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The low is forecast to move northeast across southeastern New Mexico today and reach southwest the Texas panhandle by early evening.

The plains states including portions of Kansas, New Mexico and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles could all have blizzard warnings later in the day on Dec. 19. Wind gusts to 60mph were recorded in northeastern New Mexico during the afternoon hours today. Kansas City may have a mix of rain, sleet and snow as the front moves past and temperatures fall.

At 3 p.m. EST, the National Weather Service forecast indicated that moderate to heavy snow and strong north winds to impact the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles today into Tuesday morning. The low and associated cold front are expected to bring heavy snow to the Oklahoma panhandle and all but the far southeast Texas Panhandle. Behind the cold front, the strong winds will blow snow and lead to poor visibilities and blizzard conditions.

The GOES image shows the large bank of clouds along the front stretching from the four corners states east-northeast through the Ohio Valley and into upstate New York. The rounded comma shape of clouds over Texas and stretching into Colorado indicate where the low pressure center is located.

Image: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Text: NASA, Rob Gutro