One snowflake consists of roughly 1019 water molecules.Imagine icebox winds blasting across open water on an expansive lake. The whipping winds pick up moisture in the form of water vapor.
The water vapor is warmer, so it rises.
As the vapor rises, it crystallizes. Eventually snowflakes fall on the leeward shore.
The Snow Man
Wallace Stevens, 1879 - 1955
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
|Great Lakes Surfer
Photograph by Mike Killion
- Lake Effect Snow, Wikipedia.
- Warm Water and Cold Air: The Science Behind Lake-Effect Snow, NOAA