Photo from 30,000 feet shows a unique snow phenomenon over Kansas

While traveling by plane on Feb. 26, Leigh Marts noticed a unique weather phenomenon covering the ground in Kansas, created by a storm one day prior.

In a photo he shared to Twitter on Wednesday, a narrow band of snow can be seen over parts of Kansas after a storm system came through on Tuesday.

A snow storm track in Kansas captured from an airplane (Leigh Marts/@ltmarts)

“I had never seen a snow band like that. I thought it was very interesting,” Marts told AccuWeather. “I have always been interested in weather and I knew that it was very odd.”

The storm that created the stripe of snow came through between 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. CST Tuesday.

A closer look shows the line where the band of snow stops. (Leigh Marts/@ltmarts)

“The intensity and specificity of this event was not unlike a lake-effect snow band, which can drop heavy amounts of snow in a narrow swath,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell said.

Ferrell said localized convergence of air combined with an upper-level pressure system created this narrow storm system because rising air creates clouds and leads to precipitation, similarly to lake-effect snow.

The storm system that created the stripe of snow is shown in blue on radar.

AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg called the band “extremely narrow and intense,” with the hardest hit areas getting over a foot of snow. At Sylvan Grove, up to 13 inches of snow fell.


A satellite image shows the snowfall in Kansas from Tuesday. (NASA)

Satellite data that has a high enough resolution to capture this kind of weather event has only been around for a few years, so Ferrell said it is hard to say how often storm systems like this occur.

“Narrow bands of snow like this one are notoriously difficult to predict because small changes in intensity or placement can mean big changes in snowfall totals over an area,” Hoegg said. “It is very similar to lake-effect snow. Any small changes in the placement of a lake-effect snow band could mean big changes in snowfall totals over a relatively small area.”

Over the past two days, temperatures in the area have jumped up to the 40s and 50s, causing much of the band to melt away.

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