General Discussions: ASK John: Flakes

By snowfan470 on Thursday, January 17, 2008 - 03:20 am: Edit Post

Hey John!
So IDK if I asked this before...and this is a very silly meteorological question...but what determines the size of the snow flakes? Like sometimes there will be a band of 30 DBZ snow coming through and the flakes will be very fine but falling very densely...other times, the same rate will show up on radar, but the flakes will be giant. B/c IDK if this is true...but to me, the fine small flakes annoy me b/c they always seem to accumulate slower than the big flakes, even tho the visibilities of the two is the same...

By admin on Thursday, January 17, 2008 - 11:57 am: Edit Post


The size of a flake of snow is determined by the temp and humidity levels where the flakes are formed. Basically larger flakes are just smaller flakes stuck together.

The process is much like making a snowball. When you have flakes in a warm and wet environment, they will stick together like snow sticks together when you make a snowball out of wet snow. When the environment is dry and colder where the flakes form, they cannot stick together, just like trying to make a snowball when the temps are cold and the snow is "dry".


By frnash on Thursday, January 17, 2008 - 12:35 pm: Edit Post


Why do snowflakes look the way they do?

If you're interested in an in depth treatment of snow flake physics/morphology, check out this site: SnowCrystals.com

By snowfan470 on Thursday, January 17, 2008 - 11:14 pm: Edit Post

lol Thanks Frnash! I'll be sure to check out the site!

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