KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When snow is in the forecast, I get stopped in public by many people asking a variety of good snow questions.
I'm answering a few questions it seems like I hear year after year.
Is it too cold to snow?
How come it can snow when it is above freezing?
Why do we see big and small snowflakes?
First, it is not too cold to snow, but cold air does hold less moisture, so it may snow in lesser amounts. The driest, coldest and windiest continent on earth, Antarctica, receives about 10 to 20 inches of snow per year.
Second, it can snow with temperatures above freezing. The snowflakes form in the clouds where it is below freezing, then the flakes fall to the ground. If the layer of air with above-freezing temperatures at the surface is thin, the snowflake does not have a chance to melt before it reaches the ground. Also, if the air is dry, some snowflakes will evaporate, which causes cooling and keeps other snowflakes alive.
Third, most snowflakes are ½ inch in diameter, but when the air in the clouds is near 32° you can get bigger snowflakes. Also when the air is near 32°, the snowflakes can stick together and fall to the earth as fat, wet flakes.
When there is a chance of snow, don't hesitate to ask me a question. Just go to my Facebook page and leave me your questions, or stop me if you see me out in public.