Scientists say snow is precipitation in the form of ice crystals, originating in clouds when temperatures are below freezing point and the water vapor in the atmosphere directly condenses into ice without passing through the liquid stage. And once an ice crystal has formed, it absorbs and freezes additional water vapor from the surrounding air, growing into a snow crystal or snow pellet, which then falls to earth. The process of precipitating or falling of snow is called snowfall. Some states in the USA are very cold during winter and have snow like Vermont and New York. In some states like Arizona and Florida, it almost never snows at all.

Here are some interesting records regarding snowfall measurements gathered from the web:

•The world record for the highest seasonal total snowfall was measured in the United States at Mount Baker Ski Area, outside of the town Bellingham, Washington during the 1998–1999 season. Mount Baker received 2,896 cm of snow. (1140.2 inches)

•The world record for the highest average yearly snowfall is 1,764 cm, measured in Sukayu Onsen, Japan for the period of 1981-2010. (694.5 inches)

•The North American record for the highest average yearly snowfall is 1,630 cm,
measured on Mount Rainier, Washington. (641.7 inches)

•The world record for snow depth is 1,182 cm . It was measured on the slope of Mt. Ibuki in Shiga Prefecture, Japan at altitude of 1,200 m on February 14, 1927.

•The North American record for snow depth is 1,150 cm. (452.8 inches) It was measured at Tamarack, California at altitude of 2,100 m (6889.764 feet) in March 1911.

•The world’s snowiest city with a population over one million is Sapporo, Japan, with an average yearly snowfall of 595 cm.(234.3 inches)

Snowflakes, which come in a variety of sizes and shapes, form when very small super cooled cloud droplets freeze. Once a droplet has frozen, it grows by diffusion of water molecules in the air onto the ice crystal surface where they are collected. The corresponding depletion of water vapor causes the ice crystals to grow at the droplets’ expense. Once they have grown sufficiently large, they fall through the atmosphere, and in most cases collide and stick together in clusters, or aggregates called graupel. As the snow moves down through differing temperature and humidity in the air, complex and intricate shapes emerge such that individual snowflakes are nearly unique in structure and no two flakes can be exactly alike. Also, snowflakes appear white despite being made of clear ice because of diffusion of reflection of the whole spectrum of light by the tiny crystal facets within each flake. Now, another bit of trivia: According to the Guinness World Records, the world’s largest snowflake was measured at 38 cm (15 inches) at Fort Keogh, Montana, on January 1887.

Santa and Snow and SleighBut enough already with the geek and science talk. Snowflakes, snow and Christmas just go with each other as far as our tradition goes. Here and in Europe, the snowflake is often the customary seasonal image or motif used during the Yuletide period. And snow – well, we all love to frolic in the snow and build snowmen, then cozy up inside near the fireplace and sip warm cocoa with friends and family. Snowy weather takes us back to that white winter wonderland of the soul which we often keep hidden in our day to day life


. If you’re like me, it helps get in the mood if you also play along an old record of Dean Martin or Doris Day singing:

“Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!”

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we’ve no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn’t show signs of stopping,
And I’ve bought some corn for popping,
The lights are turned way down low,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

When we finally kiss goodnight,
How I’ll hate going out in the storm!
But if you’ll really hold me tight,
All the way home I’ll be warm.

The fire is slowly dying,
And, my dear, we’re still good-bying,
But as long as you love me so,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!