Sunday Story: The weight of snow

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Our Sunday is looking mostly sunny and very breezy. Those winds winds are blowing in some colder air, but it won’t arrive in earnest until tonight. That’s also when some moisture from a system dropping in from Canada will be arriving.

It is looking more and more likely that we will see snowfall accumulation of at least an inch across the plateau by Monday morning. Some locations could easily see up to two inches. A winter weather advisory will likely be issued for us later. Why that hasn’t been issued is a mystery to me. I expect that to be issued sometime today.

So, be prepared for some slick spots in the morning. The snow showers will likely stick around with us most of the day.

One good thing is that temps will be hovering around freezing the whole time. That means impacts will be a bit less than if temps were going to fall into the 20s or colder. The highest impacts will be on the western edge of the plateau. The NWS put this map out this morning and it goes right along with my thinking.

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Speaking of snow…..

That’s exactly what your Sunday Story is about today! Perfect timing, right? I hope you all enjoy!

The Weight of Snow

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Many of us wish for one good snow in the winter. Just one good snow and then we’re ready for spring. We also hope for a pretty snow. You know, the kind that lays on the tree branches and makes everything a winter wonderland.

While snow on tree branches is pretty, have you ever wondered how much weight that snow adds on? 

There is a formula for the weight of snow per square foot that basically states that one inch of snow adds 1.25 pounds of weight per square foot. That’s just one inch of snow. 

The unfortunate thing for us in the South is that our snows tend to have a higher moisture content. We call that “wet snow.” Our snows tend to fall in warmer temperatures relative to that of northern snows. The warmer temperatures cause the snow to be moister. 

Snow with a higher moisture content is heavier than snow with a lower moisture content. Those folks who get feet of Lake-Effect snow are fortunate that the snow is very dry, meaning it will weigh much less than our southern snows. Still, roofs have to be shoveled or raked to prevent structure failure. 

Ice is even heavier than snow. Freezing rain brings a tremendous strain to trees and powerlines, adding as much as five pounds of weight for each square foot of surface area for one inch of ice. That means even the lighter ice storms add hundreds of pounds of weight from one power pole to the next. It’s no wonder the lines snap!

So, while so many of us wish for that one good snow, we must be careful what we wish for. The last thing we need is a destructive winter storm!

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