WET SNOW vs DRY SNOW: There is a difference - KMSP-TV

WET SNOW vs DRY SNOW: There is a difference

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Meteorologist Steve Frazier Meteorologist Steve Frazier

Last week we welcomed in our cold snap with a heavy wet snow. A wet cement type of snow that stuck to everything in sight. As we wrapped up our weekend, we went through another round of snow, this time it was light and fluffy. Why is it that we get bombarded with huge, wet, saucer sized, flakes during one storm and feathery light flakes during another storm? The answer my friend is not blowing in the wind, but instead, settling in the thermometer.

It all has to do with temperature. An individual snow crystal has 6 sides and is very small. A snowflake is composed of several of these 6 sided crystals. When the temperature throughout the atmosphere is mild, more and more of these flakes stick together, forming huge wet flakes. It's that moisture that acts as glue to hold them together. We see this a lot in the fall and spring season when there is usually some warm air around. When the temperature through the atmosphere is colder, as in Sunday's storm, most of these flakes contain little moisture; therefore they don't stick together and fall as smaller individual flakes.

On average, ONE inch of moisture will produce 10 inches of snow.

Therefore, you can see that dry snow will contain a lot less water but can expand up to 30 times, therefore it will accumulate to greater depths. It will also weigh a lot less than its wetter snow counterpart.

This will make shoveling easier but snowball fights are out of the question, as this snow won't stick together that well. Also, dry snow will blow around in the wind, making for slick roads long after the flakes stop falling.

We would love to see your weather photos! Email them to Photos@Fox9.com . Also I hope you will LIKE my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/SteveFrazierFox9Kmsp and follow me on Twitter at @FrazierFox9 . Thanks for watching! FRAZIER

Read more: How our new snow cover will intensify the Arctic Blast - KMSP-TV  http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/24136427/how-our-new-snow-cover-will-intensify-the-arctic-blast#ixzz2mvzwWei9


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