Monday, January 04, 2010

Snow by Any Other Name....

Dad & I were talking about all the snow that was coming down around New Year's Eve. We both wondered what the definition of "squall" was in relation to snowfall...
What I learned was that snow is classified according to 1. visability 2. duration of time the "storm falls from the sky in a particular area" 3. if there are winds or not
Here goes:

Snow: falling ice composed of crystals in complex hexagonal forms. Snow forms when water vapor turns to ice WITHOUT turning liquid first - this process is called deposition.

Snowflakes: a bunch of snow crystals

Snow flurries: light showers of snow for a short period of time with no accumulation, at most a dusting of snow

Snow showers: snow that falls at different intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation can occur, but not always

Snow storm: a long storm of heavy snow, similar to a blizzard without the wind

Snow squall: a brief but intense falling of snow that reduces visibility and is usually has high winds, accumulation is expected with squalls

Snow grains: very tiny snow crystals - the ice equivalent of drizzle

Snow pellets: white ice particles that fall through cloud droplets, scientists call it "graupel"

Sleet: drops of rain or drizzle that fall into ice as they fall, smaller than 0.3 inches in diameter - in some parts of the country sleet is considered ice pellets & freezing rain

Freezing Rain: Falling rain that cools to below 32 degrees but does not turn to ice in the air, but rather when they hit anything.

Blizzards: winter storm with winds over 35 mph, visibility near zero. People are encouraged to stay home and avoid driving

Thundersnow: a thunderstorm where snow is the main form of precipitation

Whiteout: zero visibility

There is also terminology for when the snow hits the ground....but that is for another day.

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