Snow

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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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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: How does snow form?

    A: Snow forms when atmospheric water vapor freezes onto a pollen or dust particle, which creates an ice crystal. As it falls, more water vapor freezes onto the ice crystal to create snowflakes.
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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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  • 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: Are snow chains required on four-wheel-drive vehicles?

    A: Snow chains are not necessary for cars that come equipped with traction aids such as four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive vehicles are able to navigate snowy weather.
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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 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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  • 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 the difference between snow showers and snow flurries?

    A: Snow flurries refers to light snowfall with no accumulation on the ground, and snow showers is the term used to describe light to moderate snowfall where a small amount of accumulation is possible. A snow shower starts and stops suddenly and snow flurries can fall on and off all day.
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  • How do snowstorms form?

    Q: How do snowstorms form?

    A: Snowstorms form when different temperatures and moisture levels mix in the air. When a mass of warm moist air moves over a mass of cold dry air, a front is formed, which results in rain. When the air chills to temperatures below freezing (0ºC, or 32ºF), the rain turns into ice crystals. As the ice crystals fall, the air temperature increases, causing the crystals to turn to snow.
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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 does snow come from?

    A: Snow forms in the atmosphere when the proper temperature and moisture conditions are met. For snow to materialize, temperatures must be below freezing, or around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and there must be a slight amount of moisture present in the air. In order for snow to have the best chance of reaching the ground, temperatures must be at or below freezing.
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