It’s Never Too Cold to Snow!

Posted on December 5, 2012

Us Brits have a real fascination with the white stuff that graces our temperate shores for a couple of days a year each winter; Facebook was full of comments this morning saying things like “Snow”, “OMG it’s Snowing” and “Snowing outside!!!” It appeared to be that everyone temporarily forgot how inane these comments were as the excitement of a pitiful flurry of the white stuff got the better of all rational thinking.

It’s understandable too, in the mild south of England and in particular the insulated major cities such as London, falling snow is something of a rarity and settling snow just doesn’t exist around the warm “City” area of London. On occasion around these parts (Hampshire) the warm air from the south and west occasionally bumps into the cold northerlies and easterlies to create substantial snowfall, but in reality, it is as rare as a funny Lenny Henry sketch.

My road this morning (Well, in 2010 actually)

What does cause me to get irrationally annoyed at this time of year is the knowledge that once those first hard frosts of the winter arrive, someone, somewhere, is going to be really annoying by informing me that it is in fact, too cold to snow. Without appearing to sound self-righteous or pompous, I would like to inform you that when someone tells you this; they are partaking in the art of talking absolute bollocks to the highest degree. At no place on this planet, not even the North Pole, is it ever too cold to snow.

There may well be a popular theory that sometimes the chill feels so intense that it is possible to feel that the air is so cold the sky that delivers the snow is completely frozen, which probably lends to the term “It has been trying to snow all day”.  However, it is a meteorological fact that it can only be too cold to snow when the temperature dips to a rather nippy -275 centigrade, otherwise known as absolute zero. When you consider that this is -255 centigrade lower than any temperature ever recorded in England, you may well start to get my point. In fact it even makes the coldest ever place on earth, Vostok, Antarctica (coming in a t a relatively balmy -91 centigrade) looks decidedly balmy in comparison.

My only assumption to a myth that even a self-righteous pig like me believed until I was seven, is that in the UK, when the winter sky is clear, the temperature plummets, especially at night, whilst cloud clover provides insulation, preventing the daytime warmth to rise through it. Since cloud is a vital ingredient to create snow, it is often the case that a snowy day is more often than not, warmer than a clear and frosty night featuring a penetrating frost. However, that does not mean that it can be too cold to snow.

As the years pass by, I feel the cold a lot more than when I was a kid, so if a cold spell does arrive this winter, it might not be too cold to snow, but it will definitely be too cold for me to contemplate going out and enjoying it.

That too, is a meteorological fact.

1 Reply to "It's Never Too Cold to Snow!"

  • jimmy
    December 5, 2012 (11:46 pm)

    i too can never understand this ridiculous myth bob . as you have constantly drummed this fact into my head for 35 years ‘everytime it snows’ . mind you when i put the bins out this morning wearing just my undercrackers in the snow , i thought ‘ too warm to snow ‘.

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