Snow

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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 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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  • 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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  • Q: Why does it snow?

    A: Snow is created in the atmosphere when there is a small amount of moisture present in the air and the temperature is below 32 degrees F. When the right temperature and moisture conditions are met, snow crystals form and then increase in size as they absorb surrounding water droplets. Snow has the greatest chance of leaving the atmosphere and reaching the ground if temperatures on the ground are 32 degrees F or below zero.
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  • Q: Where do avalanches occur in the world?

    A: Avalanches can occur anywhere in the world where there is snowfall buildup at a particular angle. The Alpine countries of France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy have the greatest number of avalanches and loss of life annually. In the United States, which ranks fifth in avalanche danger, Colorado, Alaska and Utah are the most deadly states.
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  • Q: How does snow occur?

    A: Snowflakes form in the atmosphere when extremely cold water droplets form frozen crystals around tiny particles of dust or pollen. When these ice crystals fall closer to the ground, water vapor freezes onto the primary crystal and snowflakes grow larger with more crystals. This frozen water creates six-sided crystals.
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  • Q: Where can you find a list of fun facts about snow?

    A: Find a list of fun facts about snow on the Michigan Science Center website, Old Farmer's Almanac website and Science Kids website. Each snowflake is a unique creation, one of the facts on the list. This occurs because each flake forms in a different location under slightly different circumstances and the molecules that make it up are arranged uniquely.
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  • Q: Can you list five kinds of snow crystals?

    A: Five kinds of snow crystals are simple prisms, stellar plates, stellar dendrites, sectored plates and rimed crystals. Snowflakes are formed when water vapor freezes in clouds then falls through cold air to the ground. Snowflakes are almost always six-sided.
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  • What happens when snow melts?

    Q: What happens when snow melts?

    A: When the weather begins to get warm after it has snowed and the snow begins to melt, there are actually a number of complex and important physical processes taking place. Heat is absorbed and converts the snow particles into water, which then makes its way to the ground. A number of different important factors can determine the rate at which this snow melting process takes place.
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  • Q: What is the snowiest place on Earth?

    A: The snowiest place on earth is Paradise Ranger Station on Mount Rainier in Washington state. A combination of mountain elevation and Pacific Northwest moisture mean that this location gets an average of 643 inches, or nearly 54 feet, of snow each year.
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  • How do you price snow removal?

    Q: How do you price snow removal?

    A: Snow removal is priced per push, by the hour and by seasonal contract. The average price of snow removal varies widely from one area to another.
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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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  • Q: Why is snow cold?

    A: Snow is cold because it is formed by water crystals combining, a process that can only occur when the temperature falls to 35 degrees Fahrenheit or below. When the temperature is over 35 degrees Fahrenheit, the precipitation is made of sleet or rain.
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  • Q: What are truck plows used for?

    A: Truck plows are used for private snowplowing, a necessary part of life in any area where municipal plowing services are not timely or a private driveway is too long to shovel alone. Truck plows are large, complex machines mounted on the front end of a pickup truck and adjusted via hydraulics.
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  • Q: What does the controller on a snow plow do?

    A: A snow plow controller allows the driver to move the snow plow blades up or down and angle them from side to side. The controllers are mounted inside the cab and come in joystick or handheld models that are easy to use while driving the plow.
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