The latest bomb cyclone swept dust from Mexico and Arizona all the way north to Minnesota

By Tom Yulsman | April 12, 2019 9:13 am
The GOES-16 weather satellite captured this view of large plumes of blowing dust originating from southeastern Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico on 10 April 2019. (Source: Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies)

The GOES-16 weather satellite captured this view of large plumes of blowing dust originating from southeastern Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico on April 10, 2019. (Source: Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies)

As the latest monster spring storm spun up over the U.S. Four Corners region on April 10, high winds drove huge amounts of dust all the way north to the Upper Midwest, where it fell as dirty snow.

You can see the low-pressure center of the cyclone spinning counter-clockwise in the animation above of GOES-16 weather satellite images. Below it, watch for the gargantuan plumes of khaki-colored dust being swept up and driven to the northeast.

Also check out the lighter, sand-colored patch (right under ‘click to play’). This is White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, and the dust streaming from this area is lighter in color.

The storm system, dubbed a “bomb cyclone” by meteorologists because of the rapidity with which it exploded in intensity, ultimately churned into the U.S. midsection with very high winds and heavy snow, creating whiteout conditions in Kansas and Nebraska. Major highways were closed, power to thousands of homes was knocked out, and hundreds of flights were cancelled.

It was the second such storm this spring.

Another animation of GOES-16 satellite imagery reveals a subtle light-brown tinge to the clouds streaming over the Iowa and Minnesota as the storm drove northwards. (Source: Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies)

Another animation of GOES-16 satellite imagery reveals a subtle light-brown tinge to the clouds streaming over Iowa and Minnesota as the storm drove northwards. (Source: Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies)

The animation above shows the dust being swept far to the north — all the way to Minnesota. Some of it fell as dirty snow.

Check out these images posted to Twitter:

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ImaGeo

ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.

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