Little Bits of History

Beautiful Snow

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 28, 2010

Miles City, Montana in 1881

January 28, 1887: The largest snowflake ever measured is seen. During a snowstorm at Fort Keogh, Montana, a flake measuring 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick was found. The fort is located on the west side of Miles City and today is part of the United States Department of Agriculture livestock and range research project. Miles City has a population of about 8,500 and covers 3.3 square miles. The average temperature for Miles City is 27° F for the month of January. They receive an average of 0.28 inches of precipitation in January, too.

Snow is precipitation in the form of crystalline ice. Snow is made when water vapor changes to ice high in the atmosphere at temperatures of less than 0º C and then falls to earth. What affects snowfall worldwide is latitude [distance from the equator] and elevation. Therefore, even though Mount Kilimanjaro is near the equator, because of it’s elevation, it is snow covered. Because of extreme cold at the poles, little water vapor is retained and it rarely snows there.

Snowstorms with a large amount of falling snow and high wind are called blizzards. Because snow is less dense, the water that would produce 1 in. of rain would make 10 inches of snow. Snowfall needs the proper conditions for temperature and humidity to occur. Lake effect snow is caused by prevailing winds blowing over large bodies of water, picking up moisture and then cooling once it makes landfall and causing large accumulations of snow. Mountainous areas are also famous for snow as the air forced to ascend the ranges then has the precipitation squeezed from it along the windward slopes.

Mount Baker in Washington set a world record for snowfall during the winter of 1998-1999, with 1,124 inches, or 96.6 feet. The greatest amount of snow in a single snowstorm was at Mount Shasta Ski Bowl in California, on February 13 – 19, 1959 when 189 inches fell.

Wilson Bentley was famous for his pictures of snowflakes.

“Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough.” – Earl Wilson

“There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.” – William Sharp

“Snowflakes, like people, are all different and beautiful, but they can be a nuisance when they lose their identity in a mob” – unknown

“The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.” – Doug Larson

Also on this day, in 1754 a new word, serendipity, was coined by Horace Walpole.

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