NASA Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) at NSIDC


Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer

Colorado Blizzard of March 2003

Colorado was hit with a record-setting blizzard from 18-19 March 2003. The Rocky Mountains received as much as 87 inches (7.25 feet) of snow in some places. According to the National Weather Service, Denver received 31.5 inches, the largest amount of snow since December 1913 when 45.7 inches fell. The storm left behind a blanket of snow that stretched from Wyoming to Nebraska, through Colorado, and down into the peaks of New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the north-central part of the state. In Colorado, the snow extended to the plains. The huge snowfall should provide some relief to Colorado's recent drought. See the Dry Denver news article on NASA's Earth Observatory Web site.

The image below of Colorado is from 20 March 2003, when the skies began clearing over most of the state. This image shows snow extent at 500-m resolution, derived from the MODIS/Terra Snow Cover Daily L3 Global 500m Grid, Version 4 data set, available from NSIDC. A known disadvantage of the MODIS cloud mask is that it often classifies translucent, or thin, clouds as cloud, precluding observations of the Earth's surface.

The following files are the source files used to create this image:

Colorado snow cover, 20 March 2003

Snow cover legend