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Snow on trees, Germany.
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Snow is a type of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by external pressure. Snowflakes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Types which fall in the form of a ball due to melting and refreezing, rather than a flake, are known as graupel, with ice pellets and snow grains as examples of graupel. Snowfall amount and its related liquid equivalent precipitation amount are determined using a variety of different rain gauges.

The process of precipitating snow is called snowfall. Snowfall tends to form within regions of upward motion of air around a type of low-pressure system known as an extratropical cyclone. Snow can fall poleward of their associated warm fronts and within their comma head precipitation patterns, which is called such due to its comma-like shape of the cloud and precipitation pattern around the poleward and west sides of extratropical cyclones. Where relatively warm water bodies are present, for example due to water evaporation from lakes, lake-effect snowfall becomes a concern downwind of the warm lakes within the cold cyclonic flow around the backside of extratropical cyclones. Lake-effect snowfall can be locally heavy. Thundersnow is possible within a cyclone's comma head and within lake effect precipitation bands. In mountainous areas, heavy snow is possible where upslope flow is maximized within windward sides of the terrain at elevation, if the atmosphere is cold enough.



Photo of snow on the ground in the mountains of Southern California.

Once on the ground, snow can be categorized as powdery when fluffy, granular when it begins the cycle of melting and refreezing, and eventually ice once it packs down, after multiple melting and refreezing cycles, into a dense mass called snow pack. When powdery, snow moves with the wind from the location where it originally landed, forming deposits called snowdrifts which may have a depth of several meters. After attaching to hillsides, blown snow can evolve into a snow slab, which is an avalanche hazard on steep slopes. The existence of a snowpack keeps temperatures colder than they would be otherwise, as the whiteness of the snow reflects most sunlight, and the absorbed heat goes into melting the snow rather than increasing its temperature. The water equivalent of snowfall is measured to monitor how much liquid is available to flood rivers from meltwater which will occur during the upcoming spring. Snow cover can protect crops from extreme cold. If snowfall stays on the ground for a series of years uninterrupted, the snowpack develops into a mass of ice called glacier. Fresh snow absorbs sound, lowering ambient noise over a landscape because the trapped air between snowflakes attenuates vibration.

These acoustic qualities quickly minimize, and reverse once a layer of freezing rain falls on top of snow cover. Walking across snowfall produces a squeaking sound at low temperatures. For motion pictures, the sound of people walking across snow is duplicated through the use cornstarch, salt, and cat litter.

The term snow storm can describe a heavy snowfall while a blizzard involves snow and wind, obscuring visibility. Snow shower is a term for an intermittent snowfall, while flurry is used for very light, brief snowfalls. Snow can fall more than a meter at a time during a single storm in flat areas, and meters at a time in rugged terrain, such as mountains. When snow falls in significant quantities, travel by foot, car, airplane and other means becomes highly restricted, but other methods of mobility become possible: the use of snowmobiles, snowshoes and skis. When heavy snow occurs early in the fall, significant damage occurs to trees still in leaf. Areas with significant snow each year can store the winter snow within an ice house, which can be used to cool structures during the following summer. A variation on snow has been observed on Venus, though composed of metallic compounds and occurring at a substantially higher temperature.


Preferred region of heavy snowfall ("Banded Snowfall") around the comma head of a wintertime low pressure area, shaded in green
Lake-effect snow bands near the Korean Peninsula

Extratropical cyclones can bring cold and dangerous conditions with heavy rain and snow with winds exceeding 119 km/h (74 mph),[1] (sometimes referred to as windstorms in Europe). The band of precipitation that is associated with their warm front is often extensive, forced by weak upward vertical motion of air over the frontal boundary which condenses as it cools and produces precipitation within an elongated band,[2] which is wide and stratiform, meaning falling out of nimbostratus clouds.[3] When moist air tries to dislodge an arctic air mass, overrunning snow can result within the poleward side of the elongated precipitation band. In the Northern Hemisphere, poleward is towards the North Pole, or north. Within the Southern Hemisphere, poleward is towards the South Pole, or south.

Within the cold sector, poleward and west of the cyclone center, small scale or mesoscale bands of heavy snow can occur within a cyclone's comma head pattern. The cyclone's comma head pattern is a comma-shaped area of clouds and precipitation found around mature extratropical cyclones. These snow bands typically have a width of 20 miles (32 km) to 50 miles (80 km).[4] These bands in the comma head are associated with areas of frontogenesis, or zones of strengthening temperature contrast.[5]

Southwest of extratropical cyclones, curved cyclonic flow bringing cold air across the relatively warm water bodies can lead to narrow lake-effect snow bands. Those bands bring strong localized snowfall which can be understood as follows: Large water bodies such as lakes efficiently store heat that results in significant temperature differences (larger than 13 °C or 23 °F) between the water surface and the air above.[6] Because of this temperature difference, warmth and moisture are transported upward, condensing into vertically oriented clouds (see satellite picture) which produce snow showers. The temperature decrease with height and cloud depth are directly affected by both the water temperature and the large-scale environment. The stronger the temperature decrease with height, the deeper the clouds get, and the greater the precipitation rate becomes.[7]

In mountainous areas, heavy snowfall accumulates when air is forced to ascend the mountains and squeeze out precipitation along their windward slopes, which in cold conditions, falls in the form of snow. Because of the ruggedness of terrain, forecasting the location of heavy snowfall remains a significant challenge.[8]


Snowflake viewed in an optical microscope

Snow crystals form when tiny supercooled cloud droplets (about 10 μm in diameter) freeze. These droplets are able to remain liquid at temperatures lower than −18 °C (0 °F), because to freeze, a few molecules in the droplet need to get together by chance to form an arrangement similar to that in an ice lattice; then the droplet freezes around this "nucleus." Experiments show that this "homogeneous" nucleation of cloud droplets only occurs at temperatures lower than −35 °C (−31 °F).[9] In warmer clouds an aerosol particle or "ice nucleus" must be present in (or in contact with) the droplet to act as a nucleus. Ice nuclei are very rare compared to that cloud condensation nuclei on which liquid droplets form. Clays, desert dust and biological particles may be effective,[10] although to what extent is unclear. Artificial nuclei include particles of silver iodide and dry ice, and these are used to stimulate precipitation in cloud seeding.[11]

Once a droplet has frozen, it grows in the supersaturated environment, which is one where air is saturated with respect to ice when the temperature is below the freezing point. The droplet then grows by diffusion of water molecules in the air (vapor) onto the ice crystal surface where they are collected. Because water droplets are so much more numerous than the ice crystals due to their sheer abundance, the crystals are able to grow to hundreds of micrometers or millimeters in size at the expense of the water droplets by a process known as the Wegner-Bergeron-Findeison process. The corresponding depletion of water vapor causes the ice crystals grow at the droplets' expense. These large crystals are an efficient source of precipitation, since they fall through the atmosphere due to their mass, and may collide and stick together in clusters, or aggregates. These aggregates are snowflakes, and are usually the type of ice particle that falls to the ground.[12] Guinness World Records list the world’s largest snowflakes as those of January 1887 at Fort Keogh, Montana; allegedly one measured 38 cm (15 in) wide.[13] Although the ice is clear, scattering of light by the crystal facets and hollows/imperfections mean that the crystals often appear white in color due to diffuse reflection of the whole spectrum of light by the small ice particles.[14]

The shape of the snowflake is determined broadly by the temperature and humidity at which it is formed.[12] The most common snow particles are visibly irregular. Planar crystals (thin and flat) grow in air between 0 °C (32 °F) and −3 °C (27 °F). Between −3 °C (27 °F) and −8 °C (18 °F), the crystals will form needles or hollow columns or prisms (long thin pencil-like shapes). From −8 °C (18 °F) to −22 °C (−8 °F) the shape reverts back to plate-like, often with branched or dendritic features. At temperatures below −22 °C (−8 °F), the crystal development becomes column-like, although many more complex growth patterns also form such as side-planes, bullet-rosettes and also planar types depending on the conditions and ice nuclei.[15][16][17] If a crystal has started forming in a column growth regime, at around −5 °C (23 °F), and then falls into the warmer plate-like regime, then plate or dendritic crystals sprout at the end of the column, producing so called "capped columns."[12]

A snowflake consists of roughly 1018 water molecules, which are added to its core at different rates and in different patterns, depending on the changing temperature and humidity within the atmosphere that the snowflake falls through on its way to the ground. As a result, it is extremely difficult to encounter two identical snowflakes.[18][19] Initial attempts to find identical snowflakes by photographing thousands their images under a microscope from 1885 onward by Wilson Alwyn Bentley found the wide variety of snowflakes we know about today.[20] It is more likely that two snowflakes could become virtually identical if their environments were similar enough. Matching snow crystals were discovered in Wisconsin in 1988. The crystals were not flakes in the usual sense but rather hollow hexagonal prisms.[21]


Hoar frost that grows on the snow surface due to water vapor moving up through the snow on cold, clear nights
Snow avalanche

Types of snow can be designated by the shape of the flakes, the rate of accumulation, and the way the snow collects on the ground. Types which fall in the form of a ball due to melting and refreezing cycles, rather than a flake, are known as graupel, with ice pellets and snow pellets as types of graupel associated with wintry precipitation.[22][23] Once on the ground, snow can be categorized as powdery when fluffy, granular when it begins the cycle of melting and refreezing, and eventually ice once it packs down into a dense drift after multiple melting and refreezing cycles. When powdery, snow drifts with the wind from the location where it originally fell,[24] forming deposits with a depth of several meters in isolated locations.[25] Snow fences are constructed in order to help control snow drifting in the vicinity of roads, to improve highway safety.[26] After attaching to hillsides, blown snow can evolve into a snow slab, which is an avalanche hazard on steep slopes. A frozen equivalent of dew known as hoar frost forms on a snow pack when winds are light and there is ample low-level moisture over the snow pack.[27]

Snowfall's intensity is determined by visibility. When the visibility is over 1 kilometer (0.62 mi), snow is considered light. Moderate snow describes snowfall with visibility restrictions between 0.5 and 1 km. Heavy snowfall describes conditions when visibility is less than 0.5 km.[28] Steady snows of significant intensity are often referred to as "snowstorms".[29] When snow is of variable intensity and short duration, it is described as a "snow shower".[30] The term snow flurry is used to describe the lightest form of a snow shower.[31]

A blizzard is a weather condition involving snow which has varying definitions in different parts of the world. In the United States, a blizzard is occurring when two conditions are met for a period of three hours or more: A sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h), and sufficient snow in the air to reduce visibility to less than 0.4 kilometers (0.25 mi).[32] In Canada and the United Kingdom, the criteria are similar.[33][34] While heavy snowfall often occurs during blizzard conditions, falling snow is not a requirement, as blowing snow can create a ground blizzard.[35]


An animation (satellite images) showing seasonal snow changes

Snow remains on the ground until it melts or sublimates. Sublimation of snow directly into water vapor is most likely to occur on a dry and windy day such as when a strong downslope wind, such as a Chinook wind, exists.[36] The water equivalent of a given amount of snow is the depth of a layer of water having the same mass and upper area. For example, if the snow covering a given area has a water equivalent of 50 centimeters (20 in), then it will melt into a pool of water 50 centimeters (20 in) deep covering the same area.[37] This is a much more useful measurement to hydrologists than snow depth, as the density of cool freshly fallen snow widely varies. New snow commonly has a density of around 8% of water. This means that 33 centimeters (13 in) of snow melts down to 2.5 centimeters (1 in) of water.[38] Cloud temperatures and physical processes in the cloud affect the shape of individual snow crystals. Highly branched or dendritic crystals tend to have more space between the arms of ice that form the snowflake and this snow will therefore have a lower density, often referred to as "dry" snow. Conditions that create columnar or plate-like crystals will have much less air space within the crystal and will therefore be denser and feel "wetter".[39]

Once the snow is on the ground, it will settle under its own weight (largely due to differential evaporation) until its density is approximately 30% of water. Increases in density above this initial compression occur primarily by melting and refreezing, caused by temperatures above freezing or by direct solar radiation. In colder climates, snow lies on the ground all winter. By late spring, snow densities typically reach a maximum of 50% of water.[40] When the snow does not all melt in the summer it evolves into firn, where individual granules become more spherical in nature,[41] evolving into a glacier as the ice flows downhill.[42]

In the Snowbelt of the northern part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan which receives much Lake-effect snow from Lake Superior, the process of snow settlement is known in the local Yooper dialect as "panking", a term probably originally created by Cornish copper miners in the mid-19th Century from combining the words "pack" and "spank". Panking is used to describe both the process of natural settling, as well as the act of packing the snow down through direct action, such as with a snow shovel or boots. In Yooper dialect, a person might say: "Youbetcha, 'dat snow panked down to nut'in', heh?" (meaning: "Without a doubt, that snow packed down quite a lot.")

Acoustic properties

Snowing video samye ling 1.ogg
Snow falling in Scotland (21 seconds)

Under water, snowfall has a unique sound when compared to other forms of precipitation. Despite the different sizes and shapes on individual snowflakes, the sound made when individual flakes fall upon the surface of a freshwater lake are quite similar.[43] On the ground, newly-fallen snow acts as a sound-absorbing material, which minimizes sound over its surface.[44] This is due to the trapped air between the individual crystalline flakes which act to trap sound waves and dampen vibrations. Once it is blown around by the wind and exposed to sunshine, snow hardens and its sound-softening quality diminishes.[45] Snow cover as thin as 2 centimeters (0.79 in) thick changes the acoustic properties of a landscape. Studies concerning the acoustic properties of snow have revealed that loud sounds, such as from a pistol, can be used to measure snow cover permeability and depth.[46] Within motion pictures, the sound of walking through cornstarch, salt, or cat litter has been found to be similar to that of walking through snow.[47][48][49] When the temperature falls below −10 °C (14.0 °F), snow will squeak when walked upon due to the crushing of the ice crystals within the snow.[50] If covered by a layer of freezing rain, the hardened frozen surface acts to echo sounds, similar to concrete.[45]

Snowfall measurement

Standard rain gauge

Snowfall is usually evaluated with standard rain gauges having diameters of 100 mm (4 in; plastic) or 200 mm (8 in; metal).[51] These gauges are adjusted to winter by removing the funnel and inner cylinder and allowing the snow/freezing rain to collect inside the outer cylinder. Antifreeze liquid may be added to melt the snow or ice that falls into the gauge.[52] Once the snowfall/ice is finished accumulating, or as its height in the gauge approaches 300 mm (12 in), the snow is melted and the water amount recorded.[53]

Another type of gauge used to measure snowfall is the weighing rain gauge.[54] The wedge and tipping bucket gauges will have problems with snow measurement. Attempts to compensate for snow/ice by warming the tipping bucket meet with limited success, since snow may sublimate if the gauge is kept much above the freezing temperature. Weighing gauges with antifreeze should do fine with snow, but again, the funnel needs to be removed before the event begins.[55]

Spring snow melt is a major source of water supply to areas in temperate zones near mountains that catch and hold winter snow, especially those with a prolonged dry summer. In such places, water equivalent is of great interest to water managers wishing to predict spring runoff and the water supply of cities downstream. Measurements are made manually at marked locations known as snow courses, and remotely using special scales called snow pillows.[56] Snow stakes and simple rulers can be used to determine the depth of the snow pack,[57] though they will not evaluate either its density or liquid equivalent.[58]

When a snow measurement is made, various networks exist across the United States and elsewhere where rainfall measurements can be submitted through the Internet, such as CoCoRAHS or GLOBE.[59][60] If a network is not available in the area where one lives, the nearest local weather office will likely be interested in the measurement.[61]

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 (1,140 in) of snow,[62] thus surpassing the previous record holder, Mount Rainier, Washington, which during the 1971–1972 season received 2,850 cm (1,120 in) of snow.[63]

Energy balance

Traditional Inuit goggles used to combat snow blindness

Fresh snow reflects 90% or more of ultraviolet radiation[64] that causes snow blindness and reduces absorption of sunlight by the ground. Snow blindness (also known as ultraviolet keratitis, photokeratitis or niphablepsia) is a painful eye condition, caused by exposure of unprotected eyes to the ultraviolet (UV) rays in bright sunlight reflected from snow or ice.[65] This condition is a problem in polar regions and at high altitudes,[66] as with every 1,000 feet (300 m) of elevation (above sea level), the intensity of UV rays increases by 4%.[67] Snow's large reflection of light makes night skies much brighter, since reflected light is directed back up into the sky.[68] However, when there is also cloud cover because snow is falling, light is then reflected back to the ground. This greatly amplifies light emitted from city lights, causing the 'bright night' effect. A similar brightening effect occurs when no snow is falling and there is a full moon and a large amount of snow.[69]

The energy balance of the snowpack itself is dictated by several heat exchange processes. The snowpack absorbs solar shortwave radiation that is partially blocked by cloud cover and reflected by snow surface. A long-wave heat exchange takes place between the snowpack and its surrounding environment that includes overlying air mass, tree cover and clouds. Heat exchange takes place by convection between the snowpack and the overlaying air mass, and it is governed by the temperature gradient and wind speed. Moisture exchange between the snowpack and the overlying air mass is accompanied with latent heat transfer that is influenced by vapor pressure gradient and air wind. Rain on snow can add significant amounts of thermal energy to the snowpack. A generally insignificant heat exchange takes place by conduction between the snowpack and the ground. The small temperature change from before to after a snowfall is a result of the heat transfer between the snowpack and the air.[70]

Relation to river flow

Many rivers originating in mountainous or high-latitude regions have a significant portion of their flow from snowmelt. This often makes the river's flow highly seasonal resulting in periodic flooding.[71] In contrast, if much of the melt is from glaciated or nearly glaciated areas, the melt continues through the warm season, with peak flows occurring in mid to late summer.[72]

Effects on human society

A snow blockade in southern Minnesota, US in 1881

Substantial snowfall can disrupt public infrastructure and services, slowing human activity even in regions that are accustomed to such weather. Air and ground transport may be greatly inhibited or shut down entirely. Populations living in snow-prone areas have developed various ways to travel across the snow, such as skis, snowshoes, and sleds pulled by horses, dogs, or other animals and later, snowmobiles. Basic utilities such as electricity, telephone lines, and gas supply can also fail. In addition, snow can make roads much harder to travel and vehicles attempting to use them can easily become stuck.[73]

The combined effects can lead to a "snow day" on which gatherings such as school, work, or church are officially canceled. In areas that normally have very little or no snow, a snow day may occur when there is only light accumulation or even the threat of snowfall, since those areas are unprepared to handle any amount of snow. In some areas, such as some states in the United States, schools are given a yearly quota of snow days (or "calamity days"). Once the quota is exceeded, the snow days must be made up.[74][75][76] In other states, all snow days must be made up.[77] For example, schools may extend the remaining school days later into the afternoon, shorten spring break, or delay the start of summer vacation.

Accumulated snow is removed to make travel easier and safer, and to decrease the long-term impact of a heavy snowfall. This process utilizes shovels, snowplows and is often assisted by sprinkling salt or other chloride-based chemicals, which reduce the melting temperature of snow.[78] In areas with abundant snowfall, such as Northern Japan, people harvest snow and store it surrounded by insulation in ice houses. This allowed the ice to be used in summer for refrigeration or medical uses, which is one method of conserving electrical usage.[79]


Snowfall can be beneficial to agriculture by serving as a thermal insulator, conserving the heat of the Earth and protecting crops from subfreezing weather. Some agricultural areas depend on an accumulation of snow during winter that will melt gradually in spring, providing water for crop growth. If it melts into water and refreezes upon sensitive crops, such as oranges, the resulting ice will protect the fruit from exposure to lower temperatures.[80]


Making a giant snowball.

Many winter sports, such as skiing,[81] snowboarding,[82] snowmobiling,[83] and snowshoeing depend upon snow. Where snow is scarce but the temperature is low enough, snow cannons may be used to produce an adequate amount for such sports.[84] Children and adults can play on a sled or ride in a sleigh. Although a person's footsteps remain a visible lifeline within a snow-covered landscape, snow cover is considered a general danger to hiking since the snow obscures landmarks and makes the landscape itself appear uniform.[85]

One of the recognizable recreational uses of snow is in building snowmen. A snowman is created by making a man shaped figure out of snow - often using a large, shaped snowball for the body and a smaller snowball for the head which is often decorated with simple household items - traditionally including a carrot for a nose, and coal for eyes, nose and mouth; occasionally including old clothes such as a top hat or scarf. Snow can be used to make snow cones, also known as snowballs, which are usually eaten in the summer months.[86]

Snow can be used to alter the format of outdoor games such as Capture the flag,[87] or for snowball fights. The world's biggest snowcastle, the SnowCastle of Kemi, is built in Kemi, Finland every winter.[88] Since 1928 Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan has held an annual Winter Carnival in mid-February, during which a large Snow Sculpture Contest takes place between various clubs, fraternities, and organizations in the community and the university. Each year there is a central theme, and prizes are awarded based on creativity.[89] Snowball softball tournaments are held in snowy areas, usually using a bright orange softball for visibility, and burlap sacks filled with snow for the bases.[90]


Damage caused by Lake Storm "Aphid" in October 2006

When heavy, wet snow with a snow-water equivalent (SWE) ratio of between 6:1 and 12:1 and a weight in excess of 10 pounds per square foot (~50 kg/m2)[91] piles onto trees or electricity lines - particularly if the trees have full leaves or are not adapted to snow - significant damage may occur on a scale usually associated with hurricanes.[92] An avalanche can occur upon a sudden thermal or mechanical impact upon snow that has accumulated on a mountain, which causes the snow to rush downhill en masse. Preceding an avalanche is a phenomenon known as an avalanche wind caused by the approaching avalanche itself, which adds to its destructive potential.[93] Large amounts of snow which accumulate on top of man-made structures can lead to structural failure.[94] During snowmelt, acidic precipitation which previously fell into the snow pack is released, which harms marine life.[95]

Design of structures considering snow load

The design of all structures and buildings use the ground snow load[96] to some extent by professional engineers and designers. In North America, the northern states will be designed to accommodate the live load design contributed by the ground snow load in a pounds per square foot (PSF) loading analysis. (Snow loads are typically treated as 'dead loads' within the ASCE 7-latest edition.) This load is typically the governing design factor on roofs and structural elements exposed to the effects of snow. Moving south the snow load becomes less of a factor and snow may or may not be the governing factor. Ground snow in North America is provided by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE7-latest edition) for most jurisdictions.

Extraterrestrial equivalents

On Venus, the Magellan probe imaged a highly reflective substance at the tops of Venus's highest mountain peaks which bore a strong resemblance to terrestrial snow. This substance arguably formed from a similar process to snow, albeit at a far higher temperature. Too volatile to condense on the surface, it rose in gas form to cooler higher elevations, where it then fell as precipitation. The identity of this substance is not known with certainty, but speculation has ranged from elemental tellurium to lead sulfide (galena).[97]

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External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Snow is so much more than a type of precipitation in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds, but complicates and blesses our lives in a number of ways, giving rise to both frustration and romance.

Snow falling on mountains
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.


  • When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
    In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
    Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
    Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town.
  • The Hyla breed
    That shouted in the mist a month ago,
    Like ghost of sleigh-bells in a ghost of snow.
  • The way a crow
    Shook down on me
    The dust of snow
    From a hemlock tree

    Has given my heart
    A change of mood
    And saved some part
    Of a day I had rued.

  • If, as they say, some dust thrown in my eyes
    Will keep my talk from getting overwise,
    I'm not the one for putting off the proof.
    Let it be overwhelming, off a roof
    And round a corner, blizzard snow for dust,
    And blind me to a standstill if it must.
  • 琴詩酒友皆抛我 雪月花時最憶君
    • Translation: Friends on pipa, poetry and drinking all of them casted me. When I see the snow, the moon or blossoms, I long for you deeply.
    • Bai Juyi (772 - 846),「寄殷律協」
  • 国境のトンネルを越えると雪国であった。夜の底が白くなった。
  • ...the wind had dropped, and the snow, tired of rushing around in circles trying to catch itself up, now fluttered gently down until it found a place on which to rest, and sometimes the place was Pooh's nose and sometimes it wasn't and in a little while Piglet was wearing a white muffler round his neck and feeling more snowy behind the ears than he had ever felt before.
  • In the bleak mid-winter
    Frosty wind made moan,
    Earth stood hard as iron,
    Water like a stone;
    Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
    Snow on snow,
    In the bleak mid-winter
    Long ago.


  • A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.
Look up snow in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

by Robert Frost
From Mountain Interval, 1920.

THE THREE stood listening to a fresh access
Of wind that caught against the house a moment,
Gulped snow, and then blew free again—the Coles
Dressed, but dishevelled from some hours of sleep,
Meserve belittled in the great skin coat he wore.

Meserve was first to speak. He pointed backward
Over his shoulder with his pipe-stem, saying,
“You can just see it glancing off the roof
Making a great scroll upward toward the sky,
Long enough for recording all our names on.—
I think I’ll just call up my wife and tell her
I’m here—so far—and starting on again.
I’ll call her softly so that if she’s wise
And gone to sleep, she needn’t wake to answer.”
Three times he barely stirred the bell, then listened.
“Why, Lett, still up? Lett, I’m at Cole’s. I’m late.
I called you up to say Good-night from here
Before I went to say Good-morning there.—
I thought I would.— I know, but, Lett—I know—
I could, but what’s the sense? The rest won’t be
So bad.— Give me an hour for it.— Ho, ho,
Three hours to here! But that was all up hill;
The rest is down.— Why no, no, not a wallow:
They kept their heads and took their time to it
Like darlings, both of them. They’re in the barn.—
My dear, I’m coming just the same. I didn’t
Call you to ask you to invite me home.—”
He lingered for some word she wouldn’t say,
Said it at last himself, “Good-night,” and then,
Getting no answer, closed the telephone.
The three stood in the lamplight round the table
With lowered eyes a moment till he said,
“I’ll just see how the horses are.”

“Yes, do,”
Both the Coles said together. Mrs. Cole
Added: “You can judge better after seeing.—
I want you here with me, Fred. Leave him here,
Brother Meserve. You know to find your way
Out through the shed.”

“I guess I know my way,
I guess I know where I can find my name
Carved in the shed to tell me who I am
If it don’t tell me where I am. I used
To play—”

“You tend your horses and come back.
Fred Cole, you’re going to let him!”

“Well, aren’t you?
How can you help yourself?”

“I called him Brother.
Why did I call him that?”

“It’s right enough.
That’s all you ever heard him called round here.
He seems to have lost off his Christian name.”

“Christian enough I should call that myself.
He took no notice, did he? Well, at least
I didn’t use it out of love of him,
The dear knows. I detest the thought of him
With his ten children under ten years old.
I hate his wretched little Racker Sect,
All’s ever I heard of it, which isn’t much.
But that’s not saying—Look, Fred Cole, it’s twelve,
Isn’t it, now? He’s been here half an hour.
He says he left the village store at nine.
Three hours to do four miles—a mile an hour
Or not much better. Why, it doesn’t seem
As if a man could move that slow and move.
Try to think what he did with all that time.
And three miles more to go!”
“Don’t let him go.
Stick to him, Helen. Make him answer you.
That sort of man talks straight on all his life
From the last thing he said himself, stone deaf
To anything anyone else may say.
I should have thought, though, you could make him hear you.”

“What is he doing out a night like this?
Why can’t he stay at home?”

“He had to preach.”

“It’s no night to be out.”

“He may be small,
He may be good, but one thing’s sure, he’s tough.”

“And strong of stale tobacco.”

“He’ll pull through.’
“You only say so. Not another house
Or shelter to put into from this place
To theirs. I’m going to call his wife again.”

“Wait and he may. Let’s see what he will do.
Let’s see if he will think of her again.
But then I doubt he’s thinking of himself
He doesn’t look on it as anything.”

“He shan’t go—there!”

“It is a night, my dear.”

“One thing: he didn’t drag God into it.”

“He don’t consider it a case for God.”

“You think so, do you? You don’t know the kind.
He’s getting up a miracle this minute.
Privately—to himself, right now, he’s thinking
He’ll make a case of it if he succeeds,
But keep still if he fails.”

“Keep still all over.
He’ll be dead—dead and buried.”

“Such a trouble!
Not but I’ve every reason not to care
What happens to him if it only takes
Some of the sanctimonious conceit
Out of one of those pious scalawags.”

“Nonsense to that! You want to see him safe.”

“You like the runt.”

“Don’t you a little?”

I don’t like what he’s doing, which is what
You like, and like him for.”

“Oh, yes you do.
You like your fun as well as anyone;
Only you women have to put these airs on
To impress men. You’ve got us so ashamed
Of being men we can’t look at a good fight
Between two boys and not feel bound to stop it.
Let the man freeze an ear or two, I say.—
He’s here. I leave him all to you. Go in
And save his life.— All right, come in, Meserve.
Sit down, sit down. How did you find the horses?”

“Fine, fine.”

“And ready for some more? My wife here
Says it won’t do. You’ve got to give it up.”

“Won’t you to please me? Please! If I say please?
Mr. Meserve, I’ll leave it to your wife.
What did your wife say on the telephone?”

Meserve seemed to heed nothing but the lamp
Or something not far from it on the table.
By straightening out and lifting a forefinger,
He pointed with his hand from where it lay
Like a white crumpled spider on his knee:
“That leaf there in your open book! It moved
Just then, I thought. It’s stood erect like that,
There on the table, ever since I came,
Trying to turn itself backward or forward,
I’ve had my eye on it to make out which;
If forward, then it’s with a friend’s impatience—
You see I know—to get you on to things
It wants to see how you will take, if backward
It’s from regret for something you have passed
And failed to see the good of. Never mind,
Things must expect to come in front of us
A many times—I don’t say just how many—
That varies with the things—before we see them.
One of the lies would make it out that nothing
Ever presents itself before us twice.
Where would we be at last if that were so?
Our very life depends on everything’s
Recurring till we answer from within.
The thousandth time may prove the charm.— That leaf!
It can’t turn either way. It needs the wind’s help.
But the wind didn’t move it if it moved.
It moved itself. The wind’s at naught in here.
It couldn’t stir so sensitively poised
A thing as that. It couldn’t reach the lamp
To get a puff of black smoke from the flame,
Or blow a rumple in the collie’s coat.
You make a little foursquare block of air,
Quiet and light and warm, in spite of all
The illimitable dark and cold and storm,
And by so doing give these three, lamp, dog,
And book-leaf, that keep near you, their repose;
Though for all anyone can tell, repose
May be the thing you haven’t, yet you give it.
So false it is that what we haven’t we can’t give;
So false, that what we always say is true.
I’ll have to turn the leaf if no one else will.
It won’t lie down. Then let it stand. Who cares?”

“I shouldn’t want to hurry you, Meserve,
But if you’re going— Say you’ll stay, you know?
But let me raise this curtain on a scene,
And show you how it’s piling up against you.
You see the snow-white through the white of frost?
Ask Helen how far up the sash it’s climbed
Since last we read the gage.”

“It looks as if
Some pallid thing had squashed its features flat
And its eyes shut with overeagerness
To see what people found so interesting
In one another, and had gone to sleep
Of its own stupid lack of understanding,
Or broken its white neck of mushroom stuff
Short off, and died against the window-pane.”

“Brother Meserve, take care, you’ll scare yourself
More than you will us with such nightmare talk.
It’s you it matters to, because it’s you
Who have to go out into it alone.”

“Let him talk, Helen, and perhaps he’ll stay.”

“Before you drop the curtain—I’m reminded:
You recollect the boy who came out here
To breathe the air one winter—had a room
Down at the Averys’? Well, one sunny morning
After a downy storm, he passed our place
And found me banking up the house with snow.
And I was burrowing in deep for warmth,
Piling it well above the window-sills.
The snow against the window caught his eye.
‘Hey, that’s a pretty thought’—those were his words.
‘So you can think it’s six feet deep outside,
While you sit warm and read up balanced rations.
You can’t get too much winter in the winter.’
Those were his words. And he went home and all
But banked the daylight out of Avery’s windows.
Now you and I would go to no such length.
At the same time you can’t deny it makes
It not a mite worse, sitting here, we three,
Playing our fancy, to have the snowline run
So high across the pane outside. There where
There is a sort of tunnel in the frost
More like a tunnel than a hole—way down
At the far end of it you see a stir
And quiver like the frayed edge of the drift
Blown in the wind. I like that—I like that.
Well, now I leave you, people.”

“Come, Meserve,
We thought you were deciding not to go—
The ways you found to say the praise of comfort
And being where you are. You want to stay.”

“I’ll own it’s cold for such a fall of snow.
This house is frozen brittle, all except
This room you sit in. If you think the wind
Sounds further off, it’s not because it’s dying;
You’re further under in the snow—that’s all—
And feel it less. Hear the soft bombs of dust
It bursts against us at the chimney mouth,
And at the eaves. I like it from inside
More than I shall out in it. But the horses
Are rested and it’s time to say good-night,
And let you get to bed again. Good-night,
Sorry I had to break in on your sleep.”

“Lucky for you you did. Lucky for you
You had us for a half-way station
To stop at. If you were the kind of man
Paid heed to women, you’d take my advice
And for your family’s sake stay where you are.
But what good is my saying it over and over?
You’ve done more than you had a right to think
You could do—now. You know the risk you take
In going on.”

“Our snow-storms as a rule
Aren’t looked on as man-killers, and although
I’d rather be the beast that sleeps the sleep
Under it all, his door sealed up and lost,
Than the man fighting it to keep above it,
Yet think of the small birds at roost and not
In nests. Shall I be counted less than they are?
Their bulk in water would be frozen rock
In no time out to-night. And yet to-morrow
They will come budding boughs from tree to tree
Flirting their wings and saying Chickadee,
As if not knowing what you meant by the word storm.”

“But why when no one wants you to go on?
Your wife—she doesn’t want you to. We don’t,
And you yourself don’t want to. Who else is there?”

“Save us from being cornered by a woman.
Well, there’s”—She told Fred afterward that in
The pause right there, she thought the dreaded word
Was coming, “God.” But no, he only said
“Well, there’s—the storm. That says I must go on.
That wants me as a war might if it came.
Ask any man.”

He threw her that as something
To last her till he got outside the door.
He had Cole with him to the barn to see him off.
When Cole returned he found his wife still standing
Beside the table near the open book,
Not reading it.

“Well, what kind of a man
Do you call that?” she said.

“He had the gift
Of words, or is it tongues, I ought to say?”

“Was ever such a man for seeing likeness?”

“Or disregarding people’s civil questions—
What? We’ve found out in one hour more about him
Than we had seeing him pass by in the road
A thousand times. If that’s the way he preaches!
You didn’t think you’d keep him after all.
Oh, I’m not blaming you. He didn’t leave you
Much say in the matter, and I’m just as glad
We’re not in for a night of him. No sleep
If he had stayed. The least thing set him going.
It’s quiet as an empty church without him.”

“But how much better off are we as it is?
We’ll have to sit here till we know he’s safe.”

“Yes, I suppose you’ll want to, but I shouldn’t.
He knows what he can do, or he wouldn’t try.
Get into bed I say, and get some rest.
He won’t come back, and if he telephones,
It won’t be for an hour or two.”

“Well then.
We can’t be any help by sitting here
And living his fight through with him, I suppose.”

Cole had been telephoning in the dark.
Mrs. Cole’s voice came from an inner room:
“Did she call you or you call her?”

“She me.
You’d better dress: you won’t go back to bed.
We must have been asleep: it’s three and after.”

“Had she been ringing long? I’ll get my wrapper.
I want to speak to her.”

“All she said was,
He hadn’t come and had he really started.”

“She knew he had, poor thing, two hours ago.”

“He had the shovel. He’ll have made a fight.”

“Why did I ever let him leave this house!”

“Don’t begin that. You did the best you could
To keep him—though perhaps you didn’t quite
Conceal a wish to see him show the spunk
To disobey you. Much his wife’ll thank you.”

“Fred, after all I said! You shan’t make out
That it was any way but what it was.
Did she let on by any word she said
She didn’t thank me?”

“When I told her ‘Gone,’
‘Well then,’ she said, and ‘Well then’—like a threat.
And then her voice came scraping slow: ‘Oh, you,
Why did you let him go’?”

“Asked why we let him?
You let me there. I’ll ask her why she let him.
She didn’t dare to speak when he was here.

Their number’s—twenty-one? The thing won’t work.
Someone’s receiver’s down. The handle stumbles.

The stubborn thing, the way it jars your arm!
It’s theirs. She’s dropped it from her hand and gone.”

“Try speaking. Say ‘Hello’!”

“Hello. Hello.”

“What do you hear?”

“I hear an empty room—
You know—it sounds that way. And yes, I hear—
I think I hear a clock—and windows rattling.
No step though. If she’s there she’s sitting down.”

“Shout, she may hear you.”

“Shouting is no good.”

“Keep speaking then.”

“Hello. Hello. Hello.
You don’t suppose—? She wouldn’t go out doors?”

“I’m half afraid that’s just what she might do.”

“And leave the children?”

“Wait and call again.
You can’t hear whether she has left the door
Wide open and the wind’s blown out the lamp
And the fire’s died and the room’s dark and cold?”

“One of two things, either she’s gone to bed
Or gone out doors.”

“In which case both are lost.
Do you know what she’s like? Have you ever met her?
It’s strange she doesn’t want to speak to us.”

“Fred, see if you can hear what I hear. Come.”

“A clock maybe.”

“Don’t you hear something else?”

“Not talking.”

“Why, yes, I hear—what is it?”

“What do you say it is?”

“A baby’s crying!
Frantic it sounds, though muffled and far off.”

“Its mother wouldn’t let it cry like that,
Not if she’s there.”

“What do you make of it?”

“There’s only one thing possible to make,
That is, assuming—that she has gone out.
Of course she hasn’t though.” They both sat down
Helpless. “There’s nothing we can do till morning.”

“Fred, I shan’t let you think of going out.”

“Hold on.” The double bell began to chirp.
They started up. Fred took the telephone.
“Hello, Meserve. You’re there, then!—And your wife?

Good! Why I asked—she didn’t seem to answer.
He says she went to let him in the barn.—
We’re glad. Oh, say no more about it, man.
Drop in and see us when you’re passing.”

She has him then, though what she wants him for
I don’t see.”
“Possibly not for herself.
Maybe she only wants him for the children.”

“The whole to-do seems to have been for nothing.
What spoiled our night was to him just his fun.
What did he come in for?—To talk and visit?
Thought he’d just call to tell us it was snowing.
If he thinks he is going to make our house
A halfway coffee house ’twixt town and nowhere——”

“I thought you’d feel you’d been too much concerned.”

“You think you haven’t been concerned yourself.”

“If you mean he was inconsiderate
To rout us out to think for him at midnight
And then take our advice no more than nothing,
Why, I agree with you. But let’s forgive him.
We’ve had a share in one night of his life.
What’ll you bet he ever calls again?”

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SNOW (in O. Eng. sndw; a common Indo-European word; cf. in Teutonic languages, Ger. Schnee, Du. sneeuw; in Slavonic snieg', Lith. snegas; Gr. viOa, Lat. nix, nivis, whence the Romanic forms, Ital. neve, Fr. neige, &c.; Ir. and Gael. sneachd; the original sense of the root may be to moisten, cf. Skt. sneha, moisture), that form of precipitation of water-vapour condensed from the atmosphere which reaches the ground in a frozen and crystalline condition. Snow thus occurs when the processes of condensation and fall take place at a temperature below 3 2° F. The crystals, which vary greatly in form, belong to the hexagonal system. They are formed upon a nucleus, in the same way as a raindrop, and sometimes reach the ground singly, but more commonly in small coherent masses or flakes. If in its passage from the upper atmosphere snow passes through a temperature above 32° F. it reaches the ground as sleet or rain (according to the degree of heat encountered), and thus after a fall of rain over lowlands, the higher parts of mountains in the vicinity may be seen to have received the fall as snow.

See further Climate and Meteorology; and for the transformation of snow into ice under pressure, see Glacier.

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Common in Palestine in winter (Ps 14716). The snow on the tops of the Lebanon range is almost always within view throughout the whole year. The word is frequently used figuratively by the sacred writers (Job 24:19; Ps 517; Ps 6814; Isa 1:18). It is mentioned only once in the historical books (2 Sam 23:20).

It was "carried to Tyre, Sidon, and Damascus as a luxury, and labourers sweltering in the hot harvest-fields used it for the purpose of cooling the water which they drank (Prov 25:13; Jer 18:14). No doubt Herod Antipas, at his feasts in Tiberias, enjoyed also from this very source the modern luxury of ice-water."

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Facts about SnowRDF feed

Simple English

SNoW (born June 11, 1985 in Tokyo, Japan) is a J-Pop singer. She is now studying at Santa Monica College in California. She was raised in a two language environment. Her favorite artists include Ani DiFranco, Iggy Pop, Talking Heads, and Jack Johnson.

Her first single "Yes" was released under an indie record label in November 2004. In 2005, she changed labels to Sony Music Entertainment Japan. With Sony, she released "Hanabi made Ato Sukoshi" (花火まであとすこし - unofficial translation: "A Little Longer Until the Fireworks") in July. Her third single, "Sakasama no Chō" (逆さまの蝶, "The Inverted Butterfly"), was released on January 25, 2006. "Sakasama no Chō" was the opening theme of the 2005/2006 anime Jigoku Shoujo (地獄少女). It will also be used in the movie Humoresque to be released in February 2006. The opening theme for Jigoku Shōjo's second season, "NightmaRe", was also performed by SNoW. It was released as a single on December 6, 2006.


  • "Yes" - November 25, 2004
  • "Hanabi Made Ato Sukoshi" - July 6, 2005
  • "Sakasama no Chō" - January 25, 2006
  • "On & On" - July 5, 2006
  • "NightmaRe" - December 6, 2006

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