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Deciphering Between the Different Types of Snow

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The weather forecaster says a snowstorm is on the way and to be careful shoveling because it will probably be a wet snow. Just what does this mean?
 
Snow can vary in density and water content based on certain atmospheric and ground surface conditions. 
According to meteorologists, wet snow can occur when the air temperature in the troposphere (the lowest portion of the earth's atmosphere) is around the freezing mark and the soil surface temperature is above freezing. 
 
 
Conversely, dry snow occurs when the air temperature in the troposphere is less than freezing and the soil surface temperature is below freezing as well.
 
Wet snow has a high water content and is dense. It is the type of snow that compacts very easily and will make ideal snowballs. Dry snow does not have much water content and is less dense. It easily blows in the wind and will not compact very easily. Due to its low density and airiness, it tends to accumulate more quickly and pile up.
 
In terms of snow shoveling, a dry snow will be easier to shovel because it is much lighter than wet snow. However, as surface temperatures rise, dry snow can turn into wet snow through partial melting, contributing to compacting.
 
Wet snow can be particularly dangerous thanks to its density. As it accumulates on trees and power lines, the weight can cause these items to sag and even break.
 
Any type of snow can be dangerous if a person is not driving carefully, walking with caution or shoveling in the correct manner. When winter weather arrives, slow down and assess the surroundings.
 
When shoveling, do small batches at a time, always lifting with the legs instead of the back. Try pushing as much snow out of the way as possible to minimize having to lift a heavy shovel.