A Convenient Snowfall

April 18, 2024

DaleH_epod_IMG_0971 (002)

Photographer: Dale Hugo  
Summary Author: Dale Hugo

We had a little lake effect snowfall last night (February 23, 2024) that put down about 1.5 inches (3 cm) of snow over about 10 hours. Notice that it conveniently did not cover the walkway or roadway surfaces. Why not? We’ve had a spate of warm weather for the last few weeks and the paved surfaces have warmed up enough to melt the snow as it fell. The grass and roof surfaces are better insulators, so they keep the snow longer. Moreover, sunlight easily penetrates a few centimeters of snow, and if the surface beneath the snow is dark, it reradiates more efficiently than a lighter surface. 

As the sun angle is getting higher each day and the daylight length is much longer than the time of the solstice 2 months ago, this snow will be gone quickly, perhaps by day's end. 

Notice the thermal bridging on the north side of the roof of the house on the left. Also, notice the puddle in the low spot in front of their driveway — that’s the warm-up in progress. Additionally, there’s a tiny drift on the right side of my driveway where the snowfall (coming from the northeast off Lake Michigan) builds up just enough to allow the snow to survive until a bit later in the morning. Anyway, I was happy to keep my snow shovel where it belongs, inside of my garage.

Arlington Heights, Illinois Coordinates: 42.0884, -87.9806

Related Links:
Lake Michigan Lake Effect Snows
Thermal Bridging