Winter Winds Produce Snownadoes

Columns of snow swirling through the winter air. The phenomenon is known as a snownado or snow devil. What causes it?

They are best described as small, rotating towers of wind that collects snow. This occurs when strong winds interact with topography. Blowing winds are obstructed by things such as larger boulders. An eddy results and the winds begin to blow in a cyclonic manner. As they move over the snow, they pick it up and a snownado is born.

Snownadoes are unlike tornadoes because they do not need surface heating to develop. Their formation is also different than that of waterspouts and dust devils.

This video has even more information on the formation of snownadoes.

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This Day In Weather History

Canton, IL (1975)
A tornado ripped through a 3-block section of downtown, killing 2 people, injuring 75 and creating $5 million damage. A 15-foot wooden plank was driven through an auto engine block, splitting the front of the car in two. The woman driving was not injured. National Guardsmen were called in to prevent looting.

Columbus, OH (1979)
This is the first year in 101 years of record keeping at Columbus in which the temperature has not reached 90 degrees by July 23rd.

California (1979)
Hurricane Delores, west of Baja California, causes high surf along the Southern California coast.