snow flowers

Jan 23, 2020

All photos were taken December 11, 2019

Here are some strange snow facts for you, from

(winter books)
  • Snowflakes aren’t the only form of snow: Snow can also come down as graupel or sleet. Not to be confused with hail, graupel (or snow pellets) are opaque ice particles that form in the atmosphere as ice crystals, falling through freezing cloud droplets. This means that cloud particles that are colder than the freezing point of water but remain liquid, causing graupels. The cloud droplets group together to form a soft, lumpy mass. Sleet, on the other hand, consists of drops of rain that freeze into small, translucent balls of ice as they fall from the sky.
  • Syracuse, New York tried to make snow illegal: One of America’s snowiest major cities has an impressive arsenal of plows, but in 1992 it tried a new trick to control the white stuff. The city’s Common Council passed a decree that any snow before Christmas Eve was illegal. As it turns out, Mother Nature is a scofflaw—it snowed just two days later. LOL!! Mother Nature says “Take that! Syracuse!!”
(snow equipment)
  • The largest snowflake may have been fifteen inches wide: According to some sources, the largest snowflakes ever observed fell during a snowstorm in January 1887 at Montana’s Fort Keogh. While witnesses said the flakes were “larger than milk pans,” these claims have not been substantiated.
  • Snow is translucent, not white: Snow, like the ice particles it’s made up of, is actually colorless. It’s translucent, which means that light does not pass through it easily (like it would transparent glass). Light is reflected. It’s the light reflected off a snowflake’s faceted surface that creates its white appearance.

But why white? The reason we see objects as colors is because some wavelengths of light are absorbed while others are reflected (remember, light is a spectrum of colors). The object takes on whatever color light is reflected. For example, the sky is blue because the blue wavelengths are reflected while the other colors are absorbed. Since snow is made up of so many tiny surfaces, the light that hits it is scattered in many directions and will actually bounce around from one surface to the next as it’s reflected. This means no wavelength is absorbed or reflected with any consistency, so the white light bounces back as the color white.

(snow clothes)
  • Snow doesn’t always appear white: Deep snow can appear to be blue. Layers of snow can create a filter for the light, causing more red light to be absorbed than blue light. The result is that deeper snow appears blue—think about how your snowy footprints compare to the surrounding landscape.

Snow can also sometimes appear pink. Snow in high alpine areas and the coastal polar regions contains cryophilic fresh-water algae that have a red pigment that tints the surrounding snow.

  • Every winter in the U.s., at least 1 septillion ice crystals fall from the sky: That’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000—24 zeros!
(snow books)
  • The most snow to fall in a twenty four hour period in the U.S. is 75.8 inches: In 1921, over six feet of snow fell between April 14 at 2:30 p.m. and April 15 at 2:30 p.m. in Silver Lake, Colorado.
  • Colorado also holds the record for the most snow fall in a single calendar day: On December 4, 1913, 63 inches of snow fell on Georgetown, Colorado.
  • Snow has never been reported in Key West: The coldest temperature on record for the Florida city (on January 13, 1981, and January 12, 1886) is 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Not every big snowstorm is a blizzard: In order to be classified as a blizzard, a snow storm must meet a very specific set of qualifications. Winds must blow at least 35 miles per hour and the snowfall must reduce visibility to less than 0.25 miles for a period of at least three hours.

Other common types of snowstorms include a snow squall (an intense snowfall accompanied by strong winds that only lasts a short time) and a snow burst (a brief, intense snowfall that results in rapid accumulation of snow).

“Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery.”
~ Bill Waterson

“Spring needs to stand up and kick winter in the snowballs.”
~ unknown

“When snow falls, nature listens.” ~ Antoinette van Kleeff

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