Jesse Ferrell

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Amazing MODIS Satellite Maps Show Fires, Storms

May 15, 2014; 10:57 AM ET

The highest-resolution satellite image of the United States is taken only once per day. It takes two different pictures from two different sensors (TERRA and AQUA), the first late morning and the second early afternoon. The images are made available on the MODIS today website and are viewable in Google Earth. On May 14, there were two excellent examples:

First, wildfires in southern California showed their smoke drifting out to sea (original image):

Next, developing thunderstorms appeared in West Virginia (original):

Click to enlarge; you can actually see the growing cumulonimbus clouds in Pendleton County! Weather satellites have come a long way since the first satellite image was transmitted 54 years ago!

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.