Satellite photo shows a tale of two Michigans - WNEM TV 5

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Satellite photo shows a tale of two Michigans

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NOAA MODIS Saellite photo of Michigan, taken February 14, 2017. (Source: National Weather Service) NOAA MODIS Saellite photo of Michigan, taken February 14, 2017. (Source: National Weather Service)

It isn't much of a secret at this point that winter hasn't exactly been offering up its biggest snowstorms for the Great Lakes this season. Snow hasn't been nonexistent though, peppering us repeatedly in an occasional march of small-scale winter storms and lake effect snow events. By that same token, even though most of the state has seen snow at times throughout the season, it has been favoring certain regions over others.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) MODIS satellite snapped a breathtaking photo of our state on Tuesday, showing a Michigan divided in two.

The northern half of the Mitten and the tip of the Thumb, as well as the U.P. show up beautifully in the photo, with varying snow cover tinting the landscape white. The photo also shows most of the inland lakes frozen over, as well as some of the shallow regions of Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior.

A large sheet of ice can also be seen on Saginaw Bay, but the season's wildly fluctuating temperatures have left the open waters of the lake overwhelmingly open and unfrozen. By that same token, the open waters have also left more moisture free to escape into the colder air and push inland as lake effect snow. An interesting case of irony where warmer weather can actually contribute to most snow.

Back to the subject of temperature swings, perhaps the most striking feature in the photo is the sharp delineation between the snow cover in the north, and bare ground across the southern half of the state. In recent weeks, several warm fronts have managed to lift as far north as Saginaw Bay, pouring unseasonably warm air in across the region. In fact, on both February 7 and 14, temperatures in southern parts of Michigan reached 50 degrees or better!

On the flip side, the passing warm fronts resulted in a sharp contrast between the cold and warm air where they set up, largely contributing to the sharp cutoff in snow cover.

While we continue to deal with scattered snow showers tonight, the forecast by the weekend could lead to a big drop in the white stuff over the Michigan landscape.

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