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Name: Pamela
Status: other
Grade: other
Location: VA
Country: N/A
Date: 2/7/2005

Is it true that at the end of a snow storm the snowflakes are bigger?

The formation of snow flakes -- their size and weight -- is very complicated and not fully understood. I do not think that a generalization is possible. The following lecture notes probably explains more than you care to know about snow flakes, but it certainly is comprehensive!!

Vince Calder

Dear Pamela-

Snowflake size is not related to what time it falls during a snow event. Snowflake formation is a complex process, involving many variables such as moisture, temperature, and winds. What most people refer to a "big" snowflake is usually a conglomeration of many smaller flakes that have stuck together as they fell. When conditions are favorable, these "flakes" can be larger than 2 inches in diameter. Sometimes these conditions occur at the beginning of a snow event, but rarely at the end.

Wendell Bechtold, meteorologist
Forecaster, National Weather Service

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