Snow Facts

The snowiest winter in Great Britain was in 1947. Between the 22 January and the 17 March snow fell every day somewhere across the UK.

Permanent snow and ice covers about 12% of the Earth's land surface, a total of around 21 million square kilometres.

A single snowstorm can drop 40 million tons of snow, carrying the energy equivalent to 120 atom bombs.

Claus Magnus (1490-1558), Swedish historian and Archbishop of Uppsala, was the first person known to have studied individual snow crystals. Magnus drawings were reproduced by woodcut in a book published in Rome in 1555.

The worst U.S.A. snow tragedy happened on Sunday 11 March 1888. Four hundred people were killed and thousands were either marooned or buried for days in towns and trains, in drifts of up to 15m.

Natives of Greenland have approximately 50 different words for snow, from aput (snow on the ground) to nittaalaq (air thick with snow).

Ukichiro Nakaya of Hokkaido University, Japan, was the first person to study snow in 1954. Modern X-ray equipment was used to conclude that the hexagonal symmetry of individual crystals was due to a molecular structure.

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25.4mm of rain is roughly equivalent to 30cm of 'wet' snow, but as much as 60cm of 'dry' snow.

The greatest 1-day snowfall occurred at Silver Lake, Colorado, U.S.A. between the 14-15 April 1921 when 187cm fell.

Snow fell in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the 1 January 1973.

On the 3 November 1958, rain fell on 34th Street, New York City, while guards at the top of the Empire State Building at 350m were making snowballs.

Snowflakes of average size have on average a terminal velocity of 1-1.7m/s.

Dr. Vincent Joseph Schaefer (an American chemist and meteorologist) was the first person to make artificial snow in 1946.

The largest snowflake ever measured fell across Fort Keogh in Montana, U.S.A. on the 28 January 1887. It measured 38cm across and was 20cm thick.

Tavy Cleave on the West Side of Dartmoor was filled with a giant snowdrift 60-90m during the March 1891 blizzard.

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Toshitsura Doi of Japan, published a book of 100 accurate drawings appropriately named Snow Blossoms and these, together with drawings by James Glaisher of England published in 1855, were the best portraits of snow crystals till the later part of the 19th Century.

The worst blizzards are in Antarctica where wind speeds regularly reach 193km/hour.

A snowflake 13cm in size fell at Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire and neighbouring districts of the Chilterns between 0430 and 0445 GMT on the 13 April 1951.

Bratsk in Siberia, snowflakes the size of 24cm x 30cm were reported to have fallen during the winter of 1971.

William A. Bentley (1865-1931) was the first person to photograph ice crystals with a camera fitted with a microscope. In a 40-year span, Bentley built a collection of 6000 photomicrographs of snow crystals, all being different.

The highest amount of snow to fall in a 12-month period was at ski resort Paradise on Mount Rainier, Washington State, U.S.A. This amount of snow fell between February 19 1971 and February 18 1972, and totalled 28.5m.

The greatest 5-day snowfall occurred at Thomson Pass, Alaska, U.S.A. between the 26-31 December 1955 when 445.5cm fell.

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Based on National Weather Service records for the period 1961-1990, Rochester, New York State, U.S.A. averaged 240cm of snow annually and is the snowiest large city in the U.S.A.

On average per year, 105 snow-producing storms affect the U.S.A. A typical snowstorm usually lasts 2-5days and affect several states.

Snow kills about 200 people a year in the U.S.A. The primary snow-related death is from traffic accidents.

The first use of a snowplough occurred in Milwaukee, Wisconsin U.S.A. in 1862. The snowplough was attached to a cart pulled by a team of horses.

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Snow forecast for the period 5-11 June 2024 across the UK

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