For most people, a snow day calls to mind visions of blowing snow, hot chocolate, and a day off from school, but weather nerds tend to look at things a little differently.
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Satellite loops, showing off what a storm’s moisture, atmospheric pressure, and winds look like from space are where it’s at for the weather geeks among us.
The most recent nor’easter hitting the East Coast on Wednesday is particularly beautiful when viewed from space, especially in the images taken by GOES-16, a brand new weather satellite known for its gorgeous photos.
“Can I adopt GOES-16?” Mashable Science Editor and all around weather nerd Andrew Freedman said in Slack.
Remarkably, this is the fourth nor’easter to hit in just three weeks, and each of the storms has been photogenic in its own way.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), GOES-16 is able to take a photo of the full Earth once every 15 minutes and a photo of the continental United States every five minutes.
At the moment, GOES-16 is snapping photos of the Northeast at the rapid rate of once every 60 seconds, allowing scientists to monitor small changes in the storm’s path and development.
Some satellite photos of the most recent nor’easter are particularly impressive for those who are well-versed in the goings-on in our atmosphere.
“Yes, there is a mesoscale floater on this bad boy,” weather forecaster John Homenuk said in a post on Twitter. “And yes, it is gorgeous. Look at the convection!”
Scientists and forecasters use photos like the ones taken by the GOES satellites and others to help figure out how a storm is going to evolve.
They also utilize ground-based measurements and radar data to monitor and forecast the storm.