Welcome back to Cam’s Weather Corner! This week we’re talking about something that really has been lacking this winter, SNOW!
That’s right, we are talking everything related to snow.
First, we need to talk about snow formation. The key ingredient in how snow is formed is based on the temperature of the surrounding environment.
As most of us know, snow can only form when the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow starts off as super cooled water droplets that grow over time and eventually fall towards the surface of the earth. If the entire column of air is below freezing, then the precipitation doesn’t melt and will reach the surface as snow.
Snow or ice crystals are highly temperature dependent and can be broken down into several categories.
When it’s very cold, snow crystals tend to be small and look like plates or needles. Very dry environments lead to higher snow to water ratios such as 18:1, where 18 inches of snow equals one inch of water.
Meanwhile, when it’s closer to freezing, you have bigger flakes and your typical looking snowflake or dendrites. Moisture rich environments lead to lower snow to water ratios, or your common 10:1 ratio, so 10 inches of snow equals one inch of water.
In the field of meteorology, snow is one of the hardest things to forecast, so what does it take to get a solid snow storm around here?
Doppler Dave told me that it's not just about what conditions we have, but where those conditions are.
"Now the most favorable setup for us to get heavy snow, to really get dumped on, we look for a strong compact upper level low, we call that a bowling ball. It just kind of rolls towards us," said Doppler Dave. "But we like to see it coming to our south, the track going south, coming up from Roswell to Lubbock and then off to our east. When we’re on the north side of that storm track, it puts us in the most favorable zone for heavy snow."
Now we are entering the latter part of winter, but there is still some hope for snow.
Sometimes we can get snow as late as early May, and hopefully that happens this year. Let’s all hope for a bowling ball low that brings us a solid snow storm.
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