A wet, heavy snowfall has me shoving. Once, twice, three times today alone, I’ve helped dig out my driveway. My muscles groan and I briefly consider making a few snow angels on the remaining area needing to be cleared and calling the job finished.
Don’t get me wrong I love snow, but I like it best when the white stuff falls gently like the glitter dust in a snow globe. I like to catch individual crystals on my glove and study the tiny artwork. When I gaze the little, intricate wonders, I’m inspired to learn more and to share what I’ve discovered.
- Every winter, one septillion or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 snow crystals fall.
- Why so many? Probably because it takes almost a million crystals to make a snowflake.
- Not only that, there are about 180 billion molecules of water in an average snowflake.
- Snow, like water, actually is clear and colorless, even though it looks white.
- Snowflakes always have six sides.
- People believe each snowflake is unique. I can’t dispute it.
Yet there are some general rules to their creation. No. 1: When the temperature is close to freezing, snowflakes are larger and more complex.
- No. 2: When the temperature is very cold, well below freezing, flakes are needle- or rod-shaped and simpler in design.
- In 1951 the International Commission on Snow and Ice produced a fairly simple and widely used classification system for solid precipitation. This system defines the seven principal snow crystal types as plates, stellar crystals, columns, needles, spatial dendrites, capped columns, and irregular forms.
- Of course, snowflakes never fall singularly. Often they came in storms. The United States experiences an average of 105 snowstorms a year.
- The intensity of the storm determines its name. A snowstorm is a heavy snowfall.
- A blizzard has wind and snow and obscures visibility. A snow shower, on the other hand, has intermittent precipitation. And, of course, flurries are the lightest and briefest snowfall.
- When it snows, the reported average amount of snowfall per day is about two inches.
- And what about mountain snow? Well, in the western United States, it provides 75 percent of the water supplies there.
The snow pictures came from: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/ If you’re a fan of snow, you should consider checking out this site.