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First Snow in the Northeastern United States
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First Snow in the Northeastern United States

November 4, 2008
The first snow of the season in the northeastern United States was captured by the MODIS Aqua satellite on October 30, 2008. The snow, visible as white patches on the image, mostly fell in Pennsylvania and New York. The snow was probably a result of the lake-effect - Lake Erie borders part of Western Pennsylvania and Lake Ontario borders New York.

Lake-effect snow is caused by cold, Arctic winds moving across warmer lake water. The resulting water vapor freezes and and snow is the result. This phenomena is common in the Great Lakes region which gets cold winter winds from the northwest. The areas that are east and south of the Lakes are thus the ones that receive the lake-effect snowfall, which can be substantial.

In this image, snow is also visible along the western side of the Appalachian Mountains.


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