Winter in Ohio can be an amazing experience. Watching the snow fall from the living room window, cozy and warm with a good book is a great way spend a winter evening. As the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, there is almost an anticipation for the snow to start falling. Children begin looking forward to days off from school because of the wonderful white flakes. Adults begin preparing for the removal of all that snow. Snow can be wonderful and it can be downright frustrating. Snow may look beautiful but it creates a variety of headaches that we seldom appreciate. Last year, we were surprised in early March with a blizzard that shut down roads, schools and businesses all over the area. There was very little appreciation for the lovely little white flakes.
Have you ever wondered how those snow storms get started? What is it that makes them come together and cause such wonder and such havoc? Here are few things that must happen for snow storms to become a reality and pour out those amazing flakes.
The development of snow
The process that it takes for a snow storm to develop is truly fascinating. Snow storms develop when a large mass of warm, moist air collides with a cold mass of air. Summer rain storms are often caused in a similar manner. The warm, moist air connects with colder air and the storm is created. The warmer air is cooled and the moisture begins to condense. However, with a snow storm the moisture also goes through the process of crystallization. This process turns the liquid moisture into snowflakes and allows the precipitation to take the form of snow.
Figuring snowfall totals
Just as a rain storm is considered a storm with large amounts of rain a snowstorm is a storm with large amounts of snow. Snow is much less dense than liquid precipitation, so it produces about ten times the amount. For example, one inch of rain produces approximately 10 inches of snow. Even small amounts of liquid can produce large amounts of snow.
The variety of winter storms
Winter storms come in a variety of fashions because they produce a variety of precipitation. One storm could produce various amounts of rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain. The type or form of precipitation depends entirely on the temperature at the time the precipitation falls. Factors like air temperature, ground temperature and freezing point become crucial. A matter of just a few degrees determine if the precipitation is a cold rain, sleet, snow or freezing rain.
In the United States, snow storms are normally seen during the winter months in the north. Snow has been recorded in nearly every state and has even been seen during an unusually cold summer. Snow can create an amazing winter wonder before our eyes. This winter when the snow starts to fall, remember the amazing process that it takes to make a snow storm a reality.