Oh, the snow, the beautiful snow/Filling the sky and Earth below/Over the housetops, over the street. . . .” And so on. Time to get out the shovels and the bags of salt. But the children tend to love it, even as we shovel it. And there is a lot of it, by the numbers, to love:
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Number of snowflakes that fall on the planet each year.
1,000,000 Number of snowflakes in a three-inch snowball.
0 Number of snowflakes that are exactly alike, according to standard reference texts.
2 Number of identical snowflakes retrieved and photographed by cloud physicist Nancy Knight on Nov. 1, 1986, while collecting snowflakes in an aircraft over Madison, Wis., during a cirrus cloud project for NASA. So there.
89.7 Inches, the most for a Chicago winter (1978-79).
23 Inches, the most snow for a single storm in Chicago (1967).
15 Inches, diameter of the largest snowflake ever measured (Fort Keogh, Mont., in 1897).
35 Miles per hour, the minimum speed the wind must blow for a snowstorm to become a blizzard. 100 Percent of all precipitation that starts out as snow (it melts into rain on the way down when ground temperatures are above freezing).
22 Number of Eskimo words for snow, including: apun (snow), aput (spread-out snow), nutagak (powder snow), aniu (packed snow), perksertok (drifting snow), akelrorak (newly drifting snow), pukak (sugar snow), pokaktok (salt-like snow), ayak (snow on clothes), kimaugruk (snow that blocks something), kaiyuglak (rippled snow), massak (snow mixed with water), auksalak (melting snow), aniuk (snow for melting into water), akillukkak (soft snow) and milik (very soft snow).
Zay N. Smith