Snow Happens at Above-Freezing Temperatures

March 2, 2010; 3:07 PM ET
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A forecast calling for snow when the temperature is above the freezing mark may seem impossible, but that is exactly what will take place across parts of the East through Wednesday.

How cold the air is in the upper levels of the atmosphere is more important to the survival of a snowflake than what the temperature is at the surface.

Once a snowflake forms, it can survive the trip to the ground if the atmosphere below that point is subfreezing. The snowflake will melt into a rain drop if it passes through a deep layer of air that is above freezing.

If the temperature near the surface is not significantly above freezing, the snowflake will not have time to melt until it actually touches the warmer ground.

If you still have doubts and live across the Northeast, just keep checking your thermometer as you see Wednesday's snow fall.


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