How is snow formed?

Wet snow, dry snow, powder snow, snowflakes, ice crystals…there are many facets to snow – but how does it come to life?

As a major snow storm hit Northeastern US yesterday and white-frosted images are shared everywhere, here’s an interesting video produced by the UK MetOffice explaining how snow is formed.

According to the general definition, snow is water droplets formed into crystalline ice. As explained in the video, snow forms when the air temperature is low, usually between 2°C and 0°C. The size and “type” of a snowflake depends on how many ice crystals group together and this will be determined by the air temperature.

Dry, powder snow will fall when the air is dry and cool. This type of snow is great for skiing because it doesn’t stick together.

Wet snowflakes are great for outdoor sports. They are formed when the temperature is slightly warmer than 0°C, which melts the crystals around their edges. This wet snow is great for snowball fights and building snow men.

Snowflakes also form in a wide variety of different shapes, many of which you can see in this great collection.

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About the Author

Mara Dambour

Mara Dambour

Learning Zone Writer