As you gaze outside the window one winter evening, you see snowflakes fall to the ground. One by one they float until they meet that perfect spot on which they were destined to land. Snowflakes falling is a beautiful sight. But what makes a snowflake?
A snowflake begins as cold water vapor freezes to a very tiny piece of pollen or dust in the air. This creates an ice crystal. Some people think a snowflake is a frozen raindrop, but that isn’t true. A frozen raindrop is considered sleet.
Once the crystal is created, more moisture from the air attaches itself to the original crystal. This happens as it falls to the ground. By the time the snowflake reaches the ground it has “grown” 6 arms. Now that all 6 arms are attached to the ice crystal and following the same path to the ground, the snowflake will form in a symmetrical and hexagonal shape. In addition, depending on the atmospheric conditions, other shapes like prisms, plates and needles develop to complete the shape of the snowflake.
You’ve heard the saying that no two snowflakes are alike. While most people use it to illustrate that God made each of us differently, it really does apply to snowflakes, too. There are many variables that determine its shape. The humidity in the air and the temperature have an impact on the design of the snowflake. The smallest change in the atmosphere affects the formation of the crystals. In addition, each snowflake has an individual path from the sky to the ground, resulting in different formations.
So, the next time there is a call for snow, be sure to get outside and enjoy that amazing weather!