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Brad
01-20-2008, 09:10 PM
We all have heard that it is "too cold to snow". At what point is this true?

Knapper
01-21-2008, 02:08 AM
This isn't entirely true, it can snow at any temperatures. It should be that at what temperature does it become increasingly difficult to snow at. The only temperature where no snow can occur is absolute zero (0K or -459F). Some good reference points:
http://www.theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/222/
http://www.weatherimagery.com/blog/too-cold-to-snow/
and from our past weather notebook:
http://www.weathernotebook.org/transcripts/2004/02/16.php

Ryan Knapp
Staff Meteorologist, KMWN

bclark
01-21-2008, 08:43 AM
That saying does have some truth to it, but it's not litteraly too cold to snow. As Ryan stated, it CAN snow at any temperature except absolute zero. The problem is a lack of big storms when it is as cold as it is over the northeast right now.

The big storms happen when there is a contrast in temperatures....a battle between warm and cold air. That just isn't happening in an airmass like we have right now, so therefore little to no snowfall. Of course, you can get relatively weak clipper systems that drop a few inches of snow here and there, like we will get tomorrow. These are typically pretty moisture starved and in this case, a few inches snow will happen only because of very high snow ratios because of the very cold air in place.

Bill O
01-21-2008, 12:41 PM
When it gets really cold, like the current pattern in the northeast right now, checkout where its snowing. Typically down in the Carolinas. Its not too cold to snow, but the major storms are pushed south.

Our biggest snowstorms tend to come when there is a strong interaction between warm and cold air. When the jet stream is over our region.

Last year during the Valentines day storm it snowed over 30" at our place in VT and the temp was close to zero all day. Very little moisture fell in this storm, but the cold temps made the snow very light and fluffy, for lack of a better term.

Mike D
01-21-2008, 01:44 PM
Observers tell me that rime ice (http://www.drive.subaru.com/Fall05_Feature.htm) (halfway down) accumulates most rapidly just a few degrees below freezing.


light and fluffy, for lack of a better term.

That's not in your college textbooks?

Bill O
01-21-2008, 01:52 PM
Observers tell me that rime ice (http://www.drive.subaru.com/Fall05_Feature.htm) (halfway down) accumulates most rapidly just a few degrees below freezing.



That's not in your college textbooks?

Which college?

The rime ice is a direct correlation to moisture in the air. The colder it gets the less moisture the air can hold. Don't think about relative humidity, afterall its only relative, think about grams of water per cubic meter.

Mike D
01-21-2008, 02:10 PM
I meant the phrase "light and fluffy".


That's not in your college textbooks?

Bill O
01-21-2008, 02:12 PM
I meant the phrase "light and fluffy".

It's in there, check your index.