Wind-blown Snow as a Water Resource
Basics of Blizzards and Snowdrift Control

Blizzard Basics
Wind and snow make a blizzard. That's as basic as we can get. From there on, it's shades of white. Strong winds and steady snowfall make the big ones. But lots of snow moves in strong winds without falling snow, if there's enough snow on the ground and it's not too old and icy. These are ground blizzards, and sometimes they happen even with clear skies above.

That brings us to something most people don't know about blizzards. It's important--it's the key to getting some good from a blizzard. As those tiny ice grains go flying by, they're shrinking--evaporating! Hard to believe? We can't see it happen, can't feel it, but we can measure it with instruments. Even when it's way below cool, and dark-thirty at night, the farther those ice grains blow, the smaller they become.

So how is evaporation the key to managing a blizzard? First, if there's a limit to how far snow blows before it's vaporized, then we've got a chance to build something big enough to catch what comes. Seems like the stuff blows from forever (from Utah to Nebraska, as we say in Wyoming) but that's not so--really! Second, if you can keep it from blowing, not much evaporates, and you can save yourself some water--a lot of water. There are more blizzard basics, but knowing that snow evaporates is the key to blowing snow management.

To Basics of Blizzards and Snowdrift Control