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(China) December 29, 2018
(Kansas) December 18, 2019

When Snowfall Takes Sides

In 2019, a December storm dropped around five inches of snow over northeast China near Baicheng. If conditions on the ground are right, a snow pattern can reveal a storm's path with remarkable detail. Landsat 8 captured this image of the area, revealing a distinct division between snow cover and clear ground. This stark divide is rare when trees and mountains are present, but not uncommon on flat, harvested croplands.

A similar pattern appeared in the midwestern U.S. after a major storm system moved through on the day after Christmas in 2018. The storm left behind a miles-wide trail of white connecting New Mexico and Nebraska. In this Sentinel-2A view, the defined edge breaks around the hilly, forested features near the Cimarron River. The lack of snow could be attributed to those features, but also to slightly warmer temperatures near the river.

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December 29, 2018
December 18, 2019