Sometimes visible satellite imagery is good for things other than looking at clouds. I was glancing over the satellite data around noon and caught this incredible satellite image over southwestern Kentucky, northwest Tennessee, northeast Arkansas, and southeast Missouri.
The image above depicts the melting snow and sleet as seen from visible satellite. The skies around Bowling Green are clear, meaning these can’t be clouds! Notice how well the bodies of water stand out against the sleet and snow.
Visible satellite imagery is also good for picking out smoke plumes from wildfires and volcanic eruptions. Below is an example of a smoke plume in northern Florida as seen by visible satellite.
One of the tougher uses of visible satellite is the ability to pick out tornado scars. Tornado scars are the marks left behind on the landscape from a tornado. The image below is a satellite image of the Washington, Illinois tornado scar from a tornado on November 17, 2013.
Here is a zoomed in, more detailed image of the tornado scar through Washington, IL.
So maybe this can give you an idea of some of the many uses of visible satellite imagery to meteorologists. Meteorologists look at visible satellite everyday to adjust their forecasts as need be. However, it can be used for much more than just looking at clouds.