Home Zodiac Crystals WeatherTalk: Snow accumulation depends on the crystals – InForum

WeatherTalk: Snow accumulation depends on the crystals – InForum


One of the things that really complicates snow forecasting is that the type of snowflake greatly affects how the snow accumulates. Last weekend, a small part of southeastern North Dakota had a stalled band of very light, fluffy snowflakes which accumulated with a lot of air. The result was about a foot of snow accumulation from not very much water. It was relatively easy to shovel, because it was almost all air.

The conditions that day were perfect for making snow crystals; high humidity with a cloud temperature between zero and 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Under slightly different warmer or slightly colder conditions, that same precipitation might have accumulated just a couple of inches. Wind also has a great impact on the accumulation. If it strong enough to break up the flakes into tiny pellets, it accumulates much more densely. With less air, there are fewer inches of snow, but the accumulation is heavier.

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