Wildly dry snow falls on Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com
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Wildly dry snow falls on Steamboat

— The snow that fell in Steamboat Springs overnight Saturday and on Sunday was out of the ordinary. It was “wild snow,” according to longtime Steamboat weather observer and avalanche expert Art Judson. Not that there is such a thing as tame snow.

Wild snow is the term used by the American Meteorological Society to denote exceptionally dry snow. Snow is made up of varying amounts of ice crystals, water and air.

“The term (wild snow) is used when snow density is less than 0.04 grams per cubic centimeter,” Judson said. “Density of the snow (Sunday) morning was 0.031 grams per cubic centimeter. Wild snow, when deep, can flow through forests and endanger people. It flows off a shovel like water.”



Mark Williams of the Univ–ersity of Colorado writes on his Web page that snow density is a measure of mass to volume.

The driest snow has a mass of 30 kilograms per cubic meter, he wrote. That’s very close to being the equivalent of the .031 grams per cubic centimeter Judson observed during the weekend.



The AMS reports that wild snow is rare and forms only during certain weather conditions.

“In general, it falls only during a dead calm at very low air temperatures and will usually have a low liquid-to-snow depth ratio.”

By Monday morning, temperatures had warmed, and the wild snow had settled.

But snow was back in the forecast. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction forecast a 50 percent chance of snow today, followed by a partly cloudy evening tonight and a return of snow showers Wednesday.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.comTom Ross

PILOT & TODAY STAFF

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS

The snow that fell in Steam–boat Springs overnight Saturday and on Sunday was out of the ordinary. It was “wild snow,” according to longtime Steamboat weather observer and avalanche expert Art Judson. Not that there is such a thing as tame snow.

Wild snow is the term used by the American Meteorological Society to denote exceptionally dry snow. Snow is made up of varying amounts of ice crystals, water and air.

“The term (wild snow) is used when snow density is less than 0.04 grams per cubic centimeter,” Judson said. “Density of the snow (Sunday) morning was 0.031 grams per cubic centimeter. Wild snow, when deep, can flow through forests and endanger people. It flows off a shovel like water.”

Mark Williams of the Univ–ersity of Colorado writes on his Web page that snow density is a measure of mass to volume.

The driest snow has a mass of 30 kilograms per cubic meter, he wrote. That’s very close to being the equivalent of the .031 grams per cubic centimeter Judson observed during the weekend.

The AMS reports that wild snow is rare and forms only during certain weather conditions.

“In general, it falls only during a dead calm at very low air temperatures and will usually have a low liquid-to-snow depth ratio.”

By Monday morning, temperatures had warmed, and the wild snow had settled.

But snow was back in the forecast. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction forecast a 50 percent chance of snow today, followed by a partly cloudy evening tonight and a return of snow showers Wednesday.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com


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