Snow-covered Midwest USA and frozen Great Lakes

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Winter in the United States brings record cold in the Midwest and freezes the Great Lakes.

Date & Time
6 Jan 2014 14:25 & 16:04 UTC. 28 January 15:20 UTC
Natural Colour RGB

Download full resolution composite image, 6 Jan 14:25 & 16:04 UTC
Download zoomed image

Strong winds and record cold temperatures below -20 °C caused loss of life, disruption to flights and closure of schools.

More information and detailed analysis of the feature can be found in the In Depth section.


In Depth


The composite image, from two Metop passes on 6 January at 14:25 & 16:04 UTC, shows the snow-covered Midwest of the USA and the cold front as it approached the east coast of the USA.

The zoomed image shows the snow-covered area around Lake Michigan where you can see cloud streets over Lake Michigan (lake snow effect) and sea ice forming on the western part of the lake, between Milwaukee and the southern tip of the lake (indicated by the faint darker cyan colour).

By the end of January 2014, the Great Lakes were under the largest cover of ice in 20 years. The early winter polar vortex that brought in freezing temperatures throughout eastern North America, put an ice cover over about 52 per cent of the Great Lakes. The Metop AVHRR image from 28 January shows most of Lake Erie covered by ice.

Download full resolution image, 28 Jan 15:20 UTC
Download full resolution image, 10 Feb 15:50 UTC

MODIS image

The NASA Earth Observatory reported that by mid-February ice cover on North America’s Great Lakes reached 88 percent — levels not observed since 1994. The average maximum ice extent since 1973 is just over 50 percent. It has surpassed 80 percent just five times in four decades.

Download full resolution MODIS image, 19 Feb 18:30 UTC

See also:

N America weather: Arctic blast brings record temperatures (BBC News)
Snow storms hit US east coast
US Midwest buried in snow
Huffington Post story about frozen Lake Erie

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