NASA Snowstorm Study Will Send Planes Inside of East Coast Storms

For many of us, a few inches of snow can be a nuisance, or at the very least keep us from getting to work on time. The worst part about impending snowstorms, however, is when we have no idea how much snow we're going to get during a given snowfall event. Meteorologists often give us an estimation of what we're up against with the fluffy precipitation, but the work that goes into bringing viewers an idea of whether they should call in to work or get out the shovel is hard, frustrating stuff. Many snowstorms actually can't be observed closer than what modern instruments already allow, thanks to parts of storm clouds that scientists just don't know much about. Luckily, NASA is putting together a snowstorm study meant to help improve these types of forecasts by, well, learning more about said clouds. NASA's latest venture is called the Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms, or IMPACTS. The team is looking to understand how "ribbons" of snow clouds, otherwise known as snow bands, form and change as they bring snowfall to areas on the East Coast. The idea is to get an understanding of how they form right down to the ice crystals inside.

Mission: