What’s the difference: Light, fluffy snow and heavy, wet snow

From the Local 5 Digital Desk

(WFRV) – As snow falls onto the ground, some might be wondering what’s the difference between light, fluffy snow and heavy, wet snow.

According to Storm Team 5 Meteorologist Ryan Morse, meteorologists usually go by a ratio of ten inches of snow to one inch of precipitation.

Heavy, wet snow typically sees a ratio of five inches of snow to one inch of precipitation.

Light, fluffy snow doesn’t have as much liquid water in it. The ratio is 20 inches of snow to one inch of precipitation.

A snowman stands in a field in Bellemont, Ariz. on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. A series of winter storms have dropped more precipitation in Flagstaff than the city had during last summer’s monsoon season. The recent snow measured as water topped the amount of rain that fell from mid-June through September, the driest monsoon season on record. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

Temperatures definitely play a factor into which type of snow fall we see.

For light, fluffy snow, you’ll see it more commonly in temperatures below 20 degrees.

Heavy, wet snow temperatures typically falls around 32 degrees.

As parts of Wisconsin are experiencing winter storm watches or warnings today, most of the area will see heavy, wet snow.

“You’re looking for today’s snowfall if you’re looking to build a snowman. You want that heavy, packing snow with a lot of water. I know some people see that light, fluffy snow and try to build a snowball and it pretty much falls apart because there’s not much liquid water in it”, says Morse.

Pedestrians walk their dogs and build a snowman Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in Grant Park as light snow falls during day two of a winter storm that is expected to dump nearly one foot of snow in the Chicago area. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Since heavy, wet snow has more precipitation, it may melt faster. With colder temperatures approaching in the coming days, that could lead to some freezing over night.

“That heavy, wet snow can melt a little bit when it’s hitting the ground so you might see some more wet spots on the road and of course, that can freeze over overnight”, Morse explains.

Morse tells Local 5 viewers to get a head start on shoveling and be extra cautious for slippery roads when driving throughout the night and in the morning.

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