A Sunday wx update and an answer to the question, “How much snow would we have…?”

After some very dense morning fog, look for the winds to pick up today. We could see wind gusts to 30 mph as we go through the day.  So, although it will be quite mild today, that wind will make it feel much cooler.

The cold front moves through tonight and much colder air rushes in. I still think we could see some snow flurries in the morning. I don’t think we’ll see any accumulation but we certainly could see some snowflakes fly around!

Speaking of snow flakes flying around….a big winter storm is moving across the Plains and Midwest today. Kansas City, MO could see thundersnow and wind gusts to 60 mph. Winter storm warnings stretch from Kansas to Illinois (pink shading). People traveling back home after Thanksgiving could be in for a wild winter-weather ride!

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For those of you who haven’t seen it on Facebook, I did very well in my race yesterday! In fact, I came in third in my age division! I finished with a time of 1:53, which is a whopping 12 minutes faster than the time it took me to finish this race last year! And the cinnamon roles at the end were delicious! OK…I really came in fourth place, which meant I missed the prize given to the top three in each age division. However, the overall top winner just so happened to be in my age group. Since he can’t win two things, I got to move up to third place by default! How cool/lucky is that?! lol

Now, for your Sunday story….

We are quite accustomed to cold rains on the plateau. How many times have we had a night of rain, with temperatures hovering just above the freezing mark? That always begs the question from folks, “How much snow would we have if this rain had been snow?”

The snow/rain ratio

Whenever we have a cold rain, someone always wonders how much snow we would have if the rain had been snow.  

Temperature has a lot to do with the answer to that question.  

We need cold air in order to have snow. By nature, colder air is also drier air and the colder that air is the more difficult it is for it to hold moisture. That dry air is what dries your skin out in the winter months.   

A snowflake is about 90% air, so it only takes a very little bit of moisture to make a snowflake. This is how the bitter cold regions of the world can have snow. It simply does not take much moisture to create snow.  

Generally, one inch of rain equals ten inches of snow. However, if the air is really cold and dry that ratio will change and one inch of rain may equal as much as two feet of snow. Many of our snows on the plateau occur when the air temperature is around 30 degrees. That means our rain-to-snow ratio often equates to one inch of rain leading to less than 10 inches of snow.

Farther north, the infamous lake-effect snows are very dry snows and that is how they get so much snow at one time. Bitter cold air blows across the warmer lake water. Since that cold air cannot support much moisture, it is efficient at turning lake water vapor into snow. The water-snow ratio for lake-effect snow can be as high as one inch of water equaling 20 inches of snow!    

As kids, we weren’t concerned with how much water made a certain amount of snow. We just knew the wetter snows made better snowballs!

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