It’s A Comin’

Ever see a snowflake really close? My microscopes and macro lensed cameras can help. Beautiful, aren’t they. So, snowy days may bring some shoveling chores (I work it into my exercise routine) but everything else about a winter snowfalls are awesome!!! Enjoy it while it’s here!!!!!! :)))

Yep, it’s here again.  After two exciting days this week of snow fall, slow roads and frustrated drivers, we got hit with another load.  No just in NE Ohio, but all the way down to Texas.  As a kid, and still to this day, I “love” the snow.  Call me crazy, but I still enjoy going for walks and high-stepping in drifts.  As kids, we used to make these enormous “forts” and have wonderful games.  Then from time to time we would make the snowballs, go behind the house and see if we could throw them over the house and hit the street), and back when there were bumpers, we’d hitch a ride every now and then (don’t tell Mom!!). Once my own girls got big enough we would all go outside and make the Kowalski snowman, that would be the one that is 10’ tall! We actually needed a ladder to put the hat on top! (see picture above, lower right)Here’s some facts and trivia about snowflakes, drifts and records we’re glad do not happen here in Ohio.  I’ll take the sunny days, even when there’s white on the ground.  Enjoy!  And thanks to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Britanica.com, weather.com and You Tube for this classic old song.

  • The snowflake might be the world’s favorite symbol of winter. These surprisingly complex and beautiful shapes are made of ice, nature’s simplest hydrogen bond crystal, and under the right conditions, can pile up to significant heights.
  • A snowflake begins to form when an extremely cold water droplet freezes onto a pollen or dust particle in the sky. This creates an ice crystal. As the ice crystal falls to the ground, water vapor freezes onto the primary crystal, building new crystals – the famous six arms of the snowflake.
  • The ice crystals that make up snowflakes are symmetrical (or patterned) because they reflect the internal order of the crystal’s water molecules as they arrange themselves in predetermined spaces (known as “crystallization”) to form the six-sided snowflake.
  • Ultimately, it is the temperature at which a crystal forms — and to a lesser extent the humidity of the air — that determines the basic shape of the ice crystal. Typically, long needle-like crystals form at 23 degrees F and very flat plate-like crystals form at 5 degrees F.
  • The intricate shape of a single arm of the snowflake is determined by the atmospheric conditions experienced by entire ice crystal as it falls. A crystal might begin to grow arms in one manner, and then minutes or even seconds later, slight changes in the surrounding temperature or humidity causes the crystal to grow in another way. Although the six-sided shape is always maintained, the ice crystal may branch off in new directions. Because each arm experiences the same atmospheric conditions, the arms look identical.
  • It’s said that no two snowflakes are exactly alike.  That’s because individual snowflakes all follow slightly different paths from the sky to the ground —and thus encounter slightly different atmospheric conditions along the way. Therefore, they all tend to look unique, resembling everything from prisms and needles to the familiar lacy pattern.
  • Blowing and drifting snow are similar, but not exactly the same.  Blowing and drifting snow are often misunderstood not only among the general public, but also meteorologists who use the terms in their forecasts. While they share many similarities, blowing and drifting snow can be very different.
  • Blowing snow is defined as snow lifted from the surface by the wind, at a height of 8 feet or more, that will reduce visibility.  While blowing snow is to be expected during a snowstorm with gusty winds, you may also see it in your local forecast after the snow has stopped falling, even if it’s a sunny day. If winds remain strong enough behind a snowstorm, that fresh powder can still be picked up by the wind, reducing visibility with each gust.
  • Drifting snow, like blowing snow, is defined as snow lifted from the surface by the wind. The key difference is that the lifted snow remains below 8 feet. Once it rises to 8 feet or higher, it becomes blowing snow.
  • Drifting snow generally doesn’t reduce visibility as much as blowing snow does, since it’s not lifted as high into the air.  The blowing and drifting snow has to end up somewhere, which is how snow drifts form. If the winds are blowing in the same direction for several hours, the snow is also going to blow in that direction, allowing snow drifts to continuously grow larger.
  • When snow drifts grow higher than the windows and doors in your house, you may not be able to exit during an emergency. As the snow continuously gets blown against your home, it can be nearly impossible to get any doors open.  Should this happen, just relax pull out a good book or turn on your favorite show and enjoy the peace and quiet!
  • Ever wonder why snow melts even when it’s below freezing?  If the sun is out, the energy of the sunlight can be sufficient to raise the temperature of the parcels of snow to above freezing, despite the ambient air temperature, especially if the snow is on other objects such as pavement or roofing which readily absorb solar energy. This effect typically doesn’t occur if it is colder than about 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • And, why does the snow pack down so much, especially at the apron of my driveway?  The snow itself undergoes a settling process after it is on the ground or another object like pavement. The air pockets that are originally caught between the flakes slowly escape and the snow “compresses”… typically as much as 3 inches per foot of snow in a days’ time. When the plow goes down the street, the snow compacts, and gets stronger and heavier.  This could cause it to appear to have melted, as there isn’t as much snow there today, for instance, as there was yesterday, but actually it’s just packing down.
  • And we complain?? … The most commonly accepted figure of the most snow that fell in 24 hours is the 75.8” of snow accumulation in Silver Lake, Colorado on April 14-15, 1921. State by State records
  • And about those drifts … Tamarack in California claims the record for the deepest snow ever recorded: 11.5 metres (>37 feet)on March 11, 1911. That was clearly some year in the Sierra Nevada, as Tamarack also recorded the largest snowfall in a single month in the US: almost 10 metres (~33 feet).
  • Austria is home to the world’s tallest snowman, after entering the Guinness World Records.  The snowman, nicknamed “Riesi,” which roughly translates as “giant” in English, measures a gigantic 38.04 meters (125 feet) smashing the previous record held by a snow-woman 37.21 meters tall, named “Olympia,” in the US state of Maine in 2008.
  • And yes, catching snowflakes on your tongue still rocks!!

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

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