Like a moist, delicious cake or mouth-watering cookies, snowstorms only require a few basic ingredients, namely cold air, moisture, rise. While you can't pick them up from the store, a big enough snowstorm will make it difficult for you to pick up anything else from the store!
In this post, we will talk about how snowstorms form and look a little more closely at the three ingredients necessary for that to happen.
This one seems obvious, but there needs to be a certain degree of cold air that is consistent from the clouds to the ground. The magic number is 32 degrees from top to bottom. If the temps nearer to ground level are too warm, the precipitation that started as snow in the clouds will melt before it hits the ground. In the best-case scenario, it simply becomes rain. In the worst-case scenario, it become freezing rain.
Moisture (also known as water vapor) is the next ingredient. Moisture usually comes from air blowing across a body of water, which is why the Great Lake region can often get sudden blasts of snow or storms that last a long time. As the air moves across the water, some of that water evaporates from the lake and becomes water vapor in the air. This how you get lake effect storms.
Cold air can't hold that much moisture. This is why you will often her people say, "It's too cold to snow." If it's too cold, that will actually be a limiting factor for snowfall.
The moist air that is picked up over a body of water needs to rise to where the colder air is. This is where the snow forms. For this rise to occur there needs to a "front." A front is where warmer and colder air meet. As warm air rises, it provides the necessary rise to lift the moisture up into the cloud level where it finally forms snow.
The Great Lakes region is particularly noted for its unpredictable winter weather. When you know the ingredients for snowfall, however, you can get a good sense of when a storm is coming. The more you pay attention to these factors in your local weather reports, the better you can get at predicting snowstorms for yourself. While that's not really a super power, per se, it's still a pretty good skill to have in your utility belt.
Hopefully the information here will make your weather watching a little more enjoyable this winter. And if you or someone you know is in need of commercial snow removal services, don't hesitate to <contact us online or give us a call at (517) 990-0110 today!