How much do you know about snow? In Alaska, snow usually starts falling in late October or early November, but some years (like 2014) the snow arrives very late, indeed. At our home in Anchorage, snow finally started falling last Saturday, and AK Kid is busy sledding, building forts, and wrestling around in his favorite form of precipitation (that means the stuff that falls from the sky; rain, snow, hail, and sleet are all forms of precipitation).
Everyone loves to see snow around the holidays, but often by March or April, Alaskans are ready for something different, having shoveled their driveways, decks, and sidewalks over and over again. Did you ever wonder about this wonderous white stuff, though, and how it manages to stick around so long, and why people go slightly crazy when they know it’s about to fall?
Snow is made up of ice crystals that form in water vapor high in our atmosphere.
The size of a snowflake depends upon how many of those ice crystals stick together, but each flake averages about 200 crystals!
Snowflakes fall somewhere around three or four miles per hour. Can you run that fast?
Alaska’s snowfall totals vary widely. Some places, like Southeast Alaska and the capital city of Juneau receive only about 70 inches in a given year. Others, like the Southcentral Alaska town of Valdez, get upwards of 300 inches of snow each year! The cold, dry air of Interior Alaska and cities like Fairbanks receive about 65 inches, but the cold more than makes up for it!
When a weather forecaster calls for a blizzard (snow and wind), people buy more cookies, candy, and cake than any other food. Crazy!
Q: What do snowmen and women call their offspring?