Mother Nature said, "Let it snow," on Monday. And oh, yes, it did. The Triad averaged between one to three inches. Just before the started falling, the newsroom phones started ringing. Several viewers asked how it could possibly start snowing when temperatures were above freezing!
To VERIFY, we didn't have to look farther than the WFMY News 2 weather center. Meteorologists Terran Kirksey and Eric Chilton knew the answer.
Chilton said, "Ground temperature is a factor. It's also the air temperature, and really it's the depth of the cold air. How high do you have to go before you drop below freezing? Surface temperature (on Monday) was above freezing, but it certainly wasn't that temperature above (in the atmosphere)."
Kirksey further explained, "If you have heavy precipitation, it cools the atmosphere in two big ways -- mechanically, in terms of each rain drop or snow flake that pulls the air down, and then it cools the air thermodynamically by evaporation. (Monday) we had that heavy precipitation that cooled the atmosphere, which is why we switched from rain to snow. If it falls heavy enough and fast enough, it'll stick to the ground and help cool the ground temperature."
In conclusion, we verified it can snow, and that snow can stick, even if the surface and ground temperature are above freezing.