Snowfall on the Southern High Plains of Northwestern Texas

By Keith Cowing
March 26, 2013
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Snowfall on the Southern High Plains of Northwestern Texas
Snowfall in Texas

One of the Expedition 34 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station photographed this image featuring the Southern High Plains of northwestern Texas, directly south of the city of Amarillo (off the image to the north).
At first glance the picture appears more like a map than an actual photo. The winter of 2012-2013 has been marked by powerful snowstorms with record-setting snowfall throughout much of the Midwestern United States The snowstorm that passed through this area left a record snowfall of approximately 43 centimeters (17 inches). Snow blankets the city of Canyon, Texas.

Urban street grids and stream channels appear etched into the landscape by the snow, a result of both melting and street clearing in the urban regions and of the incised nature of stream channels in the surrounding plains. Agricultural fields are easily identified due to the even snow cover broken only by roadways between the fields. Palo Duro Canyon is largely free of snow along the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River channel and at lower elevations, allowing the red sedimentary rocks of the canyon walls to be visible. Lake Tanglewood, a reservoir to the northeast of Canyon, appears dark due to a lack of ice cover.

Another dark region to the northwest of Canyon is a feed yard for cattle; any snowfall in this area has been removed by the actions of the livestock. The image was recorded with a digital camera using a 400 millimeter lens. ISS034-E-057550 (28 Feb. 2013) – high res (1.2 M) low res (107 K)

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