Where Does Snow Come From?
Snow is a form of precipitation like rain and sleet. Snow forms in clouds when the air temperature up there gets below freezing. Water molecules come out of the air and stick together in special patterns of little ice crystals. Then the ice crystals keep getting bigger to form snowflakes.
Snowflakes are made up of tiny crystals of ice that form when the water vapor in clouds freeze. Snow crystals start out too small to be visible. As the air grows colder, more and more snow crystals form.
The single crystals attach themselves to each other, forming larger and larger crystals. The snowflakes that we see are simply these crystals after they have grown too large and heavy to float in the air. They fall to earth as snow. Snow always appears as six-sided crystals. The crystal surfaces reflect light and make the snow appear white.
Snowflakes have very intricate crystal patterns. There was a scientist who learned how to catch snowflakes and keep them cold long enough to take photographs.
He photographed more than a thousand snowflakes without finding any two that were exactly alike. The scientist was called “Snowflake” Bentley. Now that you know what snow is made of, let’s hope we don’t see too much of it at any one time.
Did you know?
The most snow in one season occurred during 1998-1999 when 1,140 inches of snow fell on Mount Baker, Wash. That’s a whopping 95 feet of snow! Try shoveling that out of your driveway!