Some snow is great for snowball fights while other snow won't hold its shape. Some snow is perfect for skiing while other snow just slows you down. Scientists use snow ratios to describe the different types of snow.
What are snow ratios? The snow to liquid ratio is a way of describing what makes light, fluffy snow different from heavy, wet snow. The temperature can have a huge impact on the amount of snow as well as how much it weighs. The snow ratio compares the amount of liquid precipitation with the number of inches of snow. In colder weather, snow has more air space so there are more inches of snow. Wet snow that falls at the freezing mark is usually sloppy and heavy.
Storm tracks often provide information that helps forecast the snow to water ratio. Tracks near oceans have more liquid water in clouds which usually produces lower snow-liquid ratios.
For weather enthusiasts, here's a table from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that gives a statistical relationship between amounts of snow that fall and the corresponding water equivalent at specified temperature ranges. The water equivalent and snow fall amounts are listed in inches. Temperature ranges are listed in degrees Farenheit. These values are only approximate.
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After a cold, clear winter night without much wind, the ground and nearby tree branches may be covered by tiny, white ice crystals.
South Carolina Coast (1893)
1,000 to 2,000 people died when hurricane battered coast.
Denver, CO (1936)
Early heavy snow of 21.3 inches at airport in 60-hour storm. Storm caused $7 million damage to trees and shrubs in Denver area alone.
Gulf Coast of Mexico (1955)
Hurricane Janet hits with sustained winds of up to 175 mph.