“Cooling pond effect snow” in northern Illinois

December 30th, 2012
MODIS true-color and false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images

MODIS true-color and false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images

A comparison of 250-meter resolution MODIS true-color and false-color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from the SSEC MODIS Today site (above) revealed an interesting snow cover feature (snow appears as white on the true-color image, and cyan on the false-color image) surrounding a small body of water in northern Illinois (just north of the cursor) on 30 December 2012.

A closer view of that area using Google Earth (below) indicated that the small body of water was the cooling pond of the LaSalle County Nuclear Generating Station.

MODIS true-color image (displayed using Google Earth)

MODIS true-color image (displayed using Google Earth)

An AWIPS image of the MODIS Sea Surface Temperature (SST) product (below) showed that SST values were as warm as 55.8 F in the cooling pond — so the flow of colder air (which was generally in the 20s to 30s F) from a variety of directions produced “cooling pond effect snowfall” immediately downwind of the pond.

MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product

MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product

 

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