The month of December got off to a snowy start, with the first significant snow hitting Eau Claire on Saturday December 3rd. We measured 3.5” at the station from that storm. Before that, we had missed out on any big snows. In fact, the months of October and November only gave Eau Claire 1.2” of snow, that being 5.1” below normal.
Much of the Central United States also missed out on any big storms, which made for a nice satellite picture just after the early December snow storm rolled through the heart of the country.
The satellite picture shows a nearly 150 mile wide path of fresh snow stretching from Kansas and Nebraska all the way into Wisconsin. The white you see over Eastern Iowa and Illinois is cloud cover.
During the heart of winter, a satellite picture such as this won’t be nearly as impressive. That’s because normally by January and February, much, if not all of the Midwest is already covered with snow. That’s why it is difficult to decipher the newly fallen snow from the snow that is already on the ground.
Another interesting note is the satellite picture also picks up on rivers that snake through the landscape. During early December, these rivers are yet to be iced over, so they show up well from due to the contrast of the snow covered ground and the water in the rivers. You can see rivers in Nebraska from the satellite picture. This is another feature that becomes less visible the farther we go into winter. As the rivers get iced over, they tend to blend in with the rest of the surrounding land.