Column: "Too cold to snow" a flawed weather concept
When I was a grade-school kid and living in Alabama, we learned that when the weather turned really cold, it was "too cold to snow." I have heard that same misnomer since I've lived here in the North, too.
I have noticed that the cutoff for weather "too cold to snow" appears to have a lower standard here in the North. Although it is true that cold air tends to also be dry air, there remains a fundamental flaw in the concept of "too cold to snow."
Snowflakes are formed up in the clouds, not in the air we experience near the ground. And, frequently, especially in times of cold weather, the air down here is colder than the air up in the clouds.
It is not unusual for the air a few thousand feet up to be both warmer and laden with moisture, creating significant snow even when the surface temperatures seem "too cold to snow."
Have a weather question you'd like answered? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108