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What Is Snow?

When water freezes inside clouds, ice crystals form. Ice crystals are crystals that have formed around tiny bits of dirt that have been carried up into the atmosphere by the wind. The ice crystals join together creating snow flakes. Once the flakes are heavy enough they fall to the ground as snow. Each snowflake is made up of from 2 to about 200 separate crystals. In addition to a normal snow fall, snow can drift to the ground lightly as flurries, fall heavily as a snowstorm, or pile up quickly by being blown by strong winds in a blizzard.

What Color Is Snow?

Believe it or not, snow is actually clear/transparent. Snow appears white because the crystals act as prisms, breaking up the light of the sun into the entire spectrum of color. The human eye is unable to handle that kind of sensory overload. Therefore, we see the snow as white or sometimes blue. The color of snow can depend on the enviornment in which you live. Some snowflakes look like they are pink. If you live in a place where your soil is red, snow is pink. The red dust blows into the clouds, discoloring the snow.

How Big Is A Snowflake?

Most snowflakes are less than one-half inch across. The largest snowflake recorded was fifteen inches in diameter. All snowflakes have six sides and no two snowflakes are alike.

How Many Snowflake Shapes Are There?

Scientists think that there are five different shapes of snow crystals. A long needle shape, hollow column that is shaped like a six-sided prism, thin and flat six-sided plates, six-pointed stars and intricate dendrites.

What Makes The Different Shapes?

The shape that a snow crystal will take depends on the temperature at which it was formed. When the temperature is around 32F to 25F thin six-sides plates are formed. At 25F to 21F long needle shapes are formed. At 21F to 14F hallow columns are formed. At 14F to 10F six-point stars are formed. At 10F to 3F dendrites are formed. The colder it is outside, the smaller the snowflakes that fall. The fluffiest snow falls at temperatures around 15F.

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