An incredible data-crunching system predicts the storm’s future in incredible detail.

Who knew NASA had a Department of Preweather?

The space agency’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office has glimpsed the future of the Mid-Atlantic blizzard, and it is gorgeous (as long as you’re not in it). Using a supercomputer, the office simulated how clouds will likely swirl and flow until Sunday, with the blizzard crawling up the East Coast before screeching out to sea. As of now, the storm’s track has shifted slightly from earlier predictions, raising snow tallies for cities like New York (likely scenario: 16 to 22 inches) and Providence, Rhode Island (up to 6 inches).

Make sure to switch on 1080-HD before watching the video. Here’s NASA explaining how its experimental simulator works:

The NASA GEOS-5 atmospheric data assimilation system follows an historic winter storm as it approaches the mid-Atlantic this weekend 2016 January 22-24 where it is expected to produce a wide swath of more than 2 feet of snow. The near-real-time operational GEOS-5 system ingests more than 5 million observations every six hours producing comprehensive analyses and forecasts of the atmosphere each day at 25-km global resolution….

The simulated field visualized here is outgoing longwave radiation (OLR). Clouds block longwave radiation that is emitted from the Earth's surface producing cold OLR values in regions of thick/deep cloudiness. Thus, OLR provides a satellite-eye view of clouds from storm systems around the globe, including the developing blizzard across the eastern United States.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A young girl winces from the sting as she receives the polio vaccine in 1954.
    Life

    How Mandatory Vaccination Fueled the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

    To better understand the controversy over New York’s measles outbreak, you have to go back to the late 19th century.

  2. People eat and drink coffee inside a small coffeehouse.
    Life

    Gentrification Is Hurting Kuala Lumpur's Iconic Coffee Shops

    Traditional kopitiams, which serve sweetened coffee in no-frills surroundings, are a part of Malaysian national identity, but their survival is precarious.

  3. Equity

    The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

    Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.

  4. A group of students talk as one tests a pedal-free bicycle they have built.
    Environment

    How an Ancestor of the Bicycle Relates to Climate Resilience

    Architecture students in Buffalo built their own versions of the "laufmaschine," a proto-bike invented in response to a 19th-century environmental crisis.

  5. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.