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I Didn't Know That...

March 06, 1997

Q: Why does the air seem to get warmer when it snows?

A: It is not clear that it does. According to meteorologist Allan Eustis of the National Weather Service, the air actually just gets wetter. As the humidity rises, approaching 100%, he says, the air temperature falls slightly or remains constant. In fact, as the snow starts in a dry air mass, the air temperature initially falls because of evaporative cooling.

Meteorologist Mark Mulholland of WeatherData Inc., which supplies the Times' weather forecasts, said the temperature could rise because of slightly warmer southwesterly winds applying moisture to the snowstorm. The warmup would only be one or two degrees, however.

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