From November until late spring in Tahoe, everything revolves around snow. Will it fall? When it does, how much will we get? How soon will there be enough of a base to ski? How long will the snow last? Even though we consider snow daily, there are a few interesting facts you may not know about snow.
10 Interesting Facts About Snow
- No two snowflakes are alike. Okay, you probably know that one, but do you know why? Snowflakes are a combination of water molecules, oxygen and hydrogen and the amounts in each snowflake are never the same which contributes to their differences. Particles of dirt may also play a part in the differentiation between flakes.
- Even though no two snowflakes are alike they do fall into 39 categories and 121 sub-types. The table outlining the classifications is from Compound interest.
- There is research being done on the theoretical equations to predict snowflake shapes.
- Every snowflake is NOT unique. Wait…. What? According to Professor Adrian Bejan of Duke University, he can predict snowflakes shapes and argues therefore they should not be considered as unique. You can hear his reasoning directly from him. (they’re still unique)
- Large snowflakes were once considered as fictional as the 30lb Mackinaw from Lake Tahoe. Turns out both are possible! According to the Guiness Book of Records, Fort Keogh Montana recorded a 15” snowflake during the winter of 1887. They are a difficult subject to hang onto for proof, almost as elusive as UFOs.
- Although “snirt” sounds like a word invented by Dr. Suess, it is used to describe that mixture of snow and dirt, often seen in snowbanks along the side of a road.
- A blizzard only becomes a blizzard after 3 hours of less than a quarter mile visibility and winds in excess of 35 miles per hour.
- Initially the term blizzard referred to a volley of musket fire or cannon shots but that changed in 1870 when an Iowa newspaper used the term to describe heavy snowfall in the area. The term stuck.
- Snow only looks white because of the way light is refracted through it. Snow is actually translucent.
- During the winter of 1951-52, 65 feet of snow fell on Donner Summit but that still didn’t beat the year that 68.25 feet fell into May 1938.