Why Does Snow Melt in Sub-Freezing Temperatures?

Have you ever wonder why snow melts even when it is below freezing?

Posted: Jan 18, 2021 1:30 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2021 1:44 PM

The midpoint of winter is now upon us. Mid-January is usually one the snowiest points of the year for the Tri-State. On average Evansville receives about 3.2 inches of snow for the first month of the year. As of January 18th, the River City has received just slightly over a half an inch of snow for the winter season. The flakes may look gorgeous falling from the sky. However, the biggest gripe many snow lovers across the area may have is the lack of accumulation. In some wintery weather scenarios in the Tri-State snow sometimes refuses to stick to the ground even with temperatures below 32°, why is that?

If we are to answer this question properly, we have to look at conditions before the snow begins. For example, if the morning hours are filled with sunshine ground surfaces like asphalt on streets and black rooftops absorbs sunlight and traps heat longer. Regardless, if the air temperature is below 32°, the heat absorbed for the sunlight earlier will hinder snowflakes surviving on contact.

In some instances, accumulation on roads and other warmer surfaces eventually happens. One way that occurs is by a droppage of temperature through the snowfall event. Another way, is seeing the snowfall rate pick up in intensity to have evaporative cooling take place. When precipitation falls at heavy rate for a long duration of time moisture in the atmosphere increases and the dew point rises. Simultaneously, as the dew point is rising the air temperature and ultimately the pavement temperature will fall causing snow accumulation.

Evansville
Clear
15° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 6°
Owensboro
Clear
14° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 11°
Feels Like: 14°
Princeton
Clear
15° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 7°
Feels Like: 15°
Madisonville
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 12°
Feels Like: 21°
Jasper
Clear
12° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 6°
Feels Like: 12°
The bitterly cold start to our Wednesday will inevitably lead to a cooler-than-average afternoon across the Tri-State. We're currently expecting an afternoon high of 26° in Evansville on Wednesday afternoon (that’s 17° below average for this time of the year). Temperatures will once again dive back down towards the teens for many of us overnight and into early Thursday. As for right now Thursday morning looks as though will be slightly warmer, but only just - believes model data indicates that we will see a morning low temperature of 14° under partly cloudy skies in Evansville tomorrow morning.
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