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9 Fun Facts About Snow

We all love playing in the snow; making snowmen, throwing snowballs and perfecting our snow angels, but have you ever wondered how snow is made?

1) Snow is frozen water vapours

Snow consists of water vapours in the air, which freeze before they can turn into water. This happens when the temperature in the clouds is very cold. 

2) Snowflakes are made of ice crystals and dirt

Snowflakes are made up of many ice crystals that form around bits of dirt in the air. The snowflakes start out very small and grow as more ice crystals form. As you may have heard, each snowflake is unique and might contain up to 200 crystals.

3) Snow is not white

Snow, like the ice crystals that is consists of, is translucent, not white! the term translucent means that light does not pass through it, but is reflected. A snowflake has a multi-faceted surface, meaning light reflects off of all these surfaces and creates a white appearance.

Did you know snow can also appear pink or blue? The colour of snow depends on the depth and layers of the snow. If there are many layers of snow, it filters the light, so more red light is absorbed than blue light, causing the snow to look blue! Snow can look pink in high alpine areas, where the snow contains algae that have red pigment and tint the surrounding snow.




4) In the US, 1 Septillion ice crystals fall each year

That's 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ice crystals! Imagine how much it would be in Lapland?!

5) Not every snowstorm is a blizzard

A snowstorm must meet certain criteria to be classified as a blizzard. Winds must blow at least 35 MPH. the visibility must be reduced to 0.25 miles and this must be for a period of 3 hours or more! There are other types of snowstorms, including a snow squall, which is a short period of intense snowfall and winds, as well as a snowburst, which is a brief, but intense snowfall that results in deep snow!

6) Seattle holds the snowball fight record

On the 12th of January 2013, 5,834 people gathered in Seattle to have the biggest snowball fight on record!


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7) It doesn't have to be freezing to snow

Generally, the air temperature does need to be at freezing for snow to fall. However, if the temperature is around 6 degrees and rain continuously falls, then the air temperature can drop enough for the rain to turn to snow. 

8) Snowflakes fall slowly

Most snowflakes take their time as they float down to the ground at about 1.5 MPH. This means it takes about an hour for a snowflake to reach the ground from the sky! If a snowflake collects supercooled water as it falls, then it can reach 9 MPH, which is quite fast considering that average human walking speed is 3.1 MPH!

9) Chances of a white Christmas?

100% in Santa's Lapland! 



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