Too cold to snow? That old myth is not true, says meteorologist
Old saying that it won't snow at frosty temperatures is just plain wrong
Maybe you've heard it said: "It's too cold to snow."
The implication is, if temperatures in the winter drop low enough, it's impossible for snow to fall.
That would be great news for homeowners who dread shovelling and also for municipal snowclearing budgets across our country.
Turns out, that old saying is wrong — dead wrong.
It is a myth.-David Neil
Meteorologist David Neil says it's just not true that it can be too cold to snow.
"The colder the temperature, it reduces the ability for the air to hold water vapour," said Neil.
"But the air still does have the capacity to be able to hold moisture, so it is a myth."
Neil, who is based at the Gander Weather Centre of Environment Canada, told the Corner Brook Morning Show that the confusion over cold temperatures and snowfall seems to stem from people's misunderstanding of what it takes for snow crystals to form.
He says there has to be a certain amount of moisture in the air to even make snow.
Heavy snow less likely when it's cold
Neil acknowledges that, because it's harder for the air to hold water vapour at really low temperatures, areas experiencing a cold snap are less likely to get heavy snow.
"There is a slight sliver of truth to it, but it's not too cold to snow."
So there you have it: the lack of snow on some cold days is more related to the moisture content of the air, rather than where the mercury sits.