Science of Snowflakes

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Snowflakes form in a cloud when cold water droplets freeze into ice crystals onto dust particles. The ice crystals will stick together in a cloud and once they are too heavy, the fall to the ground. They will stay as snowflakes as long as the air temperature is below or at the freezing mark of 32°F.

Snowflakes’ shape and size depends on the temperature and how much moisture is in the air. Each snowflake is different, but every snowflake has six sides. Depending on the temperature and moisture content, the ice crystals molecular structure will be different. This will lead the snowflakes to have different shapes. Snowflake shapes include dendrites (the traditional shape we know), plate, prisms, needles, or columns.

From the cloud to the ground, a snowflake can travel one to four miles before it hits the ground. Usually snowflakes are about a half inch in diameter but the can be bigger.

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