Snow

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As of 2014, the book of Guinness World Records reports the largest snowflake to have been 15 inches wide and 18 inches deep, based on an eyewitness report in 1887. The report has not been proven, and scientists confirm that large snowflakes usually range from 2 to 6 inches wide.

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  • What Shape Is a Snowflake?

    Q: What Shape Is a Snowflake?

    A: While each and every snowflake can be generally said to be a hexagonal (six-sided) crystal, snowflakes come in many forms, from simple prisms and solid columns that look like rock crystals to the iconic and intricate flakes like stellar dendrites and simple stars. There are a variety of factors in play when it comes to the shape of each individual snowflake, including temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure. A temperature difference of just a few degrees can mean the difference between one type of snowflake shape, such as a columnar needle, and another, such as a stellar plate.
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  • How Much Does Snow Weigh?

    Q: How Much Does Snow Weigh?

    A: On average, snow weighs between 7 pounds per cubic foot and 20 pounds per cubic foot, according to North Dakota State University. The discrepancies can be attributed to the physical state of the ice, its depth and the atmospheric temperature; fluffy snow is light, while compacted snow is heavier.
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  • Where Does It Snow in November?

    Q: Where Does It Snow in November?

    A: It snows in Europe, America, Canada and Japan in November. In Europe, it snows in mid-November in France, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. In America, November snow falls mostly in New York, Colorado, Utah, and Minnesota. In Canada, snow falls largely in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Manitoba and Quebec. In Japan, snow season starts in November.
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  • How Do Avalanches Happen?

    Q: How Do Avalanches Happen?

    A: Avalanches occur when snow builds up to unstable levels on a steep surface, causing it to slide and fall. This can be due to a lack of vegetation supporting the snow, multiple layers of snow or ice, an increase in temperature or too heavy a snowfall over a short period.
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  • How Many Sides Does a Snowflake Have?

    Q: How Many Sides Does a Snowflake Have?

    A: Though their crystalline structure may manifest in a variety of unique shapes and patterns, all snowflakes have six sides. Because the molecules that build up to form a snowflake are made of water, these molecules fit together in a specific and predictable way that will always result in a six-sided crystal. Water molecules may occasionally form 12-sided ice crystals, but this multiple of six is the only known exception to the six-side rule, according to NPR.org.
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  • What Percentage of Fresh Snow Is Composed of Air?

    Q: What Percentage of Fresh Snow Is Composed of Air?

    A: Fresh snow is generally comprised of between 90 and 95 percent air. The presence of trapped air makes snow a good insulator, so animals often construct snow caves in which to hibernate. The snow closest to the ground is warmest and stays insulated by the air composition.
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  • How Big Can Snowflakes Get?

    Q: How Big Can Snowflakes Get?

    A: As of 2014, the book of Guinness World Records reports the largest snowflake to have been 15 inches wide and 18 inches deep, based on an eyewitness report in 1887. The report has not been proven, and scientists confirm that large snowflakes usually range from 2 to 6 inches wide.
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  • What Causes a Snowstorm?

    Q: What Causes a Snowstorm?

    A: Snowstorms occur when the moisture in clouds freezes and falls to the ground, causing precipitation. The temperature at ground level must also be below freezing.
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  • What Causes It to Snow?

    Q: What Causes It to Snow?

    A: Snow occurs when water droplets in clouds freeze, and these droplets then act as a nucleus onto which molecules of water vapor adhere, forming larger ice crystals. Once the growing snowflake is too heavy for the movement of air in the clouds to support, it falls to the ground. Snow can form in any clouds that are below freezing temperature but only does so under the right conditions.
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  • Why Are Blizzards Dangerous?

    Q: Why Are Blizzards Dangerous?

    A: Blizzards are dangerous because of freezing temperatures that are exacerbated by high wind, difficulties getting through heavy snow and the possibility of getting lost in blinding flurries. A person caught outside in a blizzard needs to seek shelter immediately.
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  • What Are the Types of Snowflakes?

    Q: What Are the Types of Snowflakes?

    A: Scientists classify snowflakes into many different categories: simple prisms, stellar plates, stellar dendrites, fernlike stellar dendrites, capped columns, double plates, 12-sided snowflakes and rimed crystals. Despite the fact that all of the flakes form a hexagonal shape, none of them appear to be exactly the same. Classifying snowflakes is a difficult task. Classifications of snowflakes have ranged from six types to 35 types.
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  • Q: Is Ice Wedging an Example of Chemical Weathering?

    A: According to National Geographic Education, ice wedging is an example of mechanical weathering, not chemical. This type of weathering happens when rocks are broken down into smaller and smaller pieces by physical forces without changing their chemical composition. The weathering is caused by the endless freeze-thaw cycle of water.
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  • Q: How Are Snowflakes Formed?

    A: Snowflakes form when a droplet of water vapor freezes onto a dust particle or pollen grain in the sky, creating an ice crystal. As the crystal falls, more water vapor freezes onto the original crystal, creating new crystals, which form the six arms of the snowflake.
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  • Q: Does It Snow in California?

    A: Snow has been documented in almost all places in California, but it is an extremely rare occurrence in some areas, particularly the western region of the Sierra Nevada. Snow frequently falls only at higher altitudes in the Cascades and the Coast Range.
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  • Q: What Is Snow Made Of?

    A: Snow is made out of tiny ice crystals that stick together. The tiny ice crystals form when the temperatures are low and there is moisture in the atmosphere.
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  • Q: Can the Temperature Be Too Cold to Snow?

    A: It can never be too cold to snow. However, heavier snowfall occurs when the temperature near the ground is 15 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Warmer temperatures allow more water vapor to stay in the air.
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  • Is Snow Edible?

    Q: Is Snow Edible?

    A: Snow is made up of small ice crystals and is perfectly edible most of the time. The only time it is potentially dangerous to eat snow is when it is contaminated.
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  • Q: What Sort of Substance Can You Put on a Sidewalk to Make Ice Melt?

    A: Salt and de-icers are substances that can be used to melt ice on a sidewalk. Salt can melt ice at temperatures up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. For temperatures lower than 15 degrees Fahrenheit, specially formulated low-temperature de-icers can be used.
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  • Q: What Is a Snow Squall?

    A: A snow squall is defined as an intense, heavy snowfall with strong winds and a possibility of lightning. The amount of snowfall is significant. Another term used to describe a snow squall is a whiteout.
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  • Q: How Does Snow Form and Fall?

    A: Snow forms when moisture freezes onto microscopic particles of pollen or dust at the atmospheric temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. More moisture freezes to the original ice crystal, forming snowflakes. If the temperature toward the ground is also below freezing, the snow falls.
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  • Where Can You Find Pictures of Snowflakes to Print Online?

    Q: Where Can You Find Pictures of Snowflakes to Print Online?

    A: Online companies that provide printable snowflake pictures include FirstPalette.com, ActivityVillage.co.uk and Coloring.ws. Depending on the site, users can find prints to color or to use as templates to cut out paper snowflakes.
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