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Name: Janette L Gubala
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Question:
What makes it snow?



Replies:
Snow originates in clouds that are below freezing, but it is not simply frozen water. The formation of snow requires that dust or other particles be present in the clouds. Molecules of water vapor adhere directly to the particles, eventually forming snowflakes. When the snowflakes are heavy enough, they fall to the ground. As the snowflakes fall through the clouds, sometimes ice crystals break off the snowflakes; these ice crystals form nucleation points for more snowflakes, so that one dust particle may be responsible for numerous snowflakes.

Snowflakes are shaped differently depending on temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. The larger snowflakes form under high humidity and relatively high temperatures, since, when the temperature is near freezing or slightly above freezing, the snowflakes become wet and adhere to one another. Snowflakes several inches across can be formed in this manner.

The above information is taken from, "It's Raining Frogs and Fishes," by Jerry Dennis, Harper Perennial, 1993.

Grant L



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