Some snowflakes look like oak leaves, some are shaped like dinner plates, and millions are very pretty and look like frozen lace.

What is a Snowflake?

Snowflake (Image by Wilson Bentley, "the Snowflake www.photolib.noaa.gov/)Some snowflakes look like oak leaves, some are shaped like dinner plates, and millions are very pretty and look like frozen lace.

Snowflakes are ice-crystals. Ice-crystals are like clear glass only much more fragile.

Ice-crystals come in millions and millions of shapes
and patterns.  The shapes of snowflakes depend on how high up in the clouds they are formed.

Six-sided crystals are shaped in the high clouds.  Needle or flat six-sided crystals are shaped in the middle layer of clouds.  A wide variety of six-sided shapes are formed in low clouds.

An ice-crystal needs a temperature of 5 degrees°F to grow. The colder the temperature the sharper the ice-crystal tips.

In warmer temperatures, the ice-crystals grow slower and smoother. This means the crystals are plainer to look at.

snowman

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