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Holiday calendar: Where the Middle East snow shows

A Dec. 15 image from NASA's Terra satellite shows areas of the Middle East where snow has accumulated. EOSDIS Worldview / NASA / GSFC

In some places, December is a time to let it snow, let it snow, let it snow — but not in the Middle East. A snowstorm paralyzed Jerusalem last week, and although Gaza didn't get in on the snowfall, torrential rains forced thousands to flee their homes.

This view from the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Terra satellite shows areas where snow was still on the ground as of Sunday. One swath covers Jerusalem and its surroundings. Patches of the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula are also blanketed in white. There's just a sprinkling of clouds over the sunlit scene.

Most of the signs of flooding can't be seen from Terra's 437-mile altitude, but if you look closely, you can spot light-colored plumes of sediment sweeping out from the western coast into the Mediterranean Sea. NASA says such plumes can be caused by floods and runoff, although it's also possible for stormy seas to bring sediment up to the surface.

Come back to PhotoBlog for future installments of the Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar, which presents a daily view of Earth from space through Christmas. For other offerings in a similar vein, check out The Atlantic's Hubble Advent CalendarZooniverse's Advent calendar and the Galileo's Pendulum Science Advent Calendar.

Previously on the Space Advent Calendar:

Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the NBC News Science Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.