SNOW! That’s right, there is snow and it is accumulating in the Duke City. We are in the midst of a big winter storm. Its been snowing since yesterday afternoon (January 31) and here in the foothills it looks like we have about 6 inches accumulated already. As I look at the local news at KOAT.com I see headlines like
“How to Drive in the Snow“, “Photos: Snowy weather hits NM“, and “NM Winter Weather Advisory Prompts Road Warning”. At this hour 126 closings and delays have been reported and 10 counties are under some sort of weather advisory.
Is snow a new thing for Albuquerque? No, actually the average annual snowfall for this southwest area of the country is about 111 inches. While the snow in the valley generally melts off very quickly; the mountains and foothills area receive more. It is a well known fact that the mountains get the snow and it remains there, which is where most folks say it belongs. Believe it or not, it gets cold in the desert!
What do you know about snow, except that in many cases it can throw a wrench into our comings and goings? I have been researching this white stuff. Is it pretty or is it ugly, take a look at this video clip that I found at the Discovery Channel:
Did you know that when precipitation from a cloud happens that it starts out as snow? I was shocked to read this because I thought I had learned that clouds make rain and then it turns to snow. Actually, the snow falls from the cloud first and as long as the temperature through which it travels when it falls to earth is at 32 degrees F or below, it remains snow. There are apparently some four to six different temperatures depending upon the altitude. If it hits a layer of air that is above 32 degrees it melts and becomes rain. Even so if it hits yet another layer at ground level that is sub-freezing it will turn to freezing rain or sleet. So then that means for snow to remain snow all the way to earth all levels of air from the cloud on down must be at sub-freezing temperatures.
That is all well and good, but another good question to ask might be “What is the purpose of snow?” Snow is actually all part of the cycle of life that God created. He uses snow and ice as sort of “storage tanks” for our fresh water supply. While permanent snow and ice cover only about 12% of the Earth’s land surface it provides 80% of the world’s fresh water. It is all part of the delicate balance to our planet that can only be the work of a Great Designer.
Looking out my window, I see a much needed natural resource. One that we hold precious and dear in the desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico and around the world.
“By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.” (Job 37:10)