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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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 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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  • 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 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 is the difference between sleet and snow?

    Q: What is the difference between sleet and snow?

    A: Sleet is snow that has partially melted as it falls through changing temperatures in the atmosphere. Temperatures may rise above freezing as a snowflake falls to the ground, causing it to lose its hexagonal shape and become sleet.
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  • Q: Why does snow burn?

    A: Snow appears to burn because of the chemical properties of water and the physical makeup of snow. Snow is loosely packed and contains more air than water, which creates a cushion that slows down the rate at which the icy structure melts.
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  • Q: What are the climatic conditions that lead to a snowy day?

    A: A cloud containing a sufficient amount of water vapor at a temperature at or below freezing and an updraft to keep the ice crystals forming are generally required for a snowy day. If the atmosphere and ground temperature remain at or below freezing, the snow can reach the ground.
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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: What are the ice crystals that fall from the sky?

    A: Ice crystals that fall from the sky as precipitation are called snowflakes. Snowflakes take several forms, depending on how the ice crystals fall and the temperatures of both the air and ground.
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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: At what temperature does snow stick?

    A: When the temperature of the ground is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, snow sticks. When the atmospheric temperature is at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is a minimal amount of moisture in the air, snow forms. The heaviest snowfalls typically occur when temperatures hover around 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
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  • Q: Why do snowflakes have six sides?

    A: The six-sided shape of snowflakes is caused by the way water molecules bond with each other in cold temperatures. The water molecules attract each other so that they form a type of hexagon shape. When they hit a certain temperature, they expand and make a larger hexagon shape.
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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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  • 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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  • 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 hail and snow?

    A: Hail is a form of precipitation that consists of hard spheres of ice that range from 0.2 to 6 inches in diameter. Snow is water that has crystallized in the atmosphere before falling.
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