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Snow Above Freezing Point

February 20, 2014, 5:25 PM by Grant Smith

Snow Above Freezing Point

You may have noticed Thursday, light snow between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. But did you also check to see the temperature? In case you didn't, at 6 a.m., it was 36 degrees and by 8 a.m., it was 34 degrees. So the question arises, how can it snow above the freezing point?

For starters, it's better to think of 32 degrees not as the freezing point but as the melting point or the point at which temperature alone cannot keep snow and ice from becoming a liquid.

Every drop of water, whether it is snow, hail, rain or sleet, always starts off frozen. Then, as it falls, if the temperature is significantly warmer than 32 degrees, the drop will start to melt and if there is enough time for the drop to melt, then we see rain. If there isn't enough time for the drop to melt, then it will stay as ice or snow.

In the case of Thursday morning's snow event, the warm air must have been shallow enough that the snow wasn't able to melt all the way to rain, thus allowing for snow 36 degrees.

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