Epic Snowstorm upstate New York - 2014 (CBS This Morning)

Snow falls, in most places, during the fall and winter when water vapor goes through a process called deposition. In deposition the water vapor is converted to ice crystals high in atmosphere without ever having been liquid first. In the clouds, the ice crystals stick together and become snowflakes. Each snowflake has six sides and is made up of as many as 200 ice crystals that form around tiny bits of dirt. When these snowflakes grow heavy enough, the clouds can’t hold them and they fall to the ground.

Snow falls at or around 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Often times, snowstorms start off as rain, but as the temperature falls (particularly at night) the rain transitions to snow. At 30 degrees, one inch of rainfall would convert to approximately ten inches of snow, though depending on the amount of moisture in the snowflakes, the ratio can move up or down.

Lake-effect Snow

Lake-effect snow occurs when cold air moves over a large, warmer body of water. Lake-effect snow is particularly common in the Great Lakes regions of Canada and the United States. Areas effected by lake-effect snow are called snowbelts. Syracuse, New York is considered the snowiest city in America, averaging over 115 inches of snow per year, largely because of its location south of Lake Ontario and the lake-effect snow it receives.

Amazing footage of monstrous lake-effect snowstorm over Buffalo, New York


Thundersnow is an unusual weather event in which lightning and thunder occur during a snowstorm. In thundersnow, the snow muffles the sound of the thunder so that it can only be heard from a radius of about two to three miles. Only fix or six thundersnow events are reported each year. Thundersnow only occurs in heavy snowfall, where two to four inches of snow are produced per hour. Most instances of thundersnow in the United States occur with lake-effect snow near the Great Lakes.


Thundersnow live on camera from Topeka, KS

Did you Know?

Paradise area of Mt. Rainier (during one of three months of the year it is not snow covered)

Syracuse, New York is typically the snowiest mid to large sized city in the United States, averaging over 116 inches of snow per year. That's nothing compared to the snowiest INHABITED place in America, Crater Lake, Oregon, which receives an average of 44 feet of snow per year (528 inches). The snowiest place on EARTH (where snow can be measured) is named Paradise on the southern slope of Mt. Rainier, Washington. In the winter of 1971-1972, it received 1,122 inches of snow (93.5 feet).