Ask Storm Team 11: Wet Vs. Dry Snow

Ask Storm Team 11

Not all snow is created equal!  Sometimes you can make the perfect snowball, other times not so much.

Today’s Ask Storm Team question is, “What determines if snow will be wet or dry?” 

The amount of liquid water within the snow will determine if it will be on the wet side or the dry side. 

Recall the atmosphere is made of up many layers and not every layer is the same.

If some of the layers between the ground and the clouds have temperatures slightly above freezing, the snow is able to melt some. This make for more of a wet snow. The snow ratio of wet snow is typically 10:1 or even less. This makes sense since there is more liquid water in the snow, it should be closer to the liquid water equivalent measurement. Wet snow is perfect for making snowballs since it is more sticky in nature.

Dry snow occurs when the layers of the atmosphere stay well below freezing. The snow ratio for dry snow is much larger around 20:1 or even higher. Dry snow is more powdery, making it perfect for skiing on.

Ask Storm Team 11 your questions here!

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