Millions of people throughout the world have never seen snow. That is because the closer one lives to the Equator, the less likely the chance of snow forming is. Snow can be found there at lower latitudes, however, it would be most unusual to find unless the most curious of snow seekers were willing to hike to very high elevations. At the Equator the snow line (the lower boundary of a high region where snow never melts) is marked at 17,000 feet--a height where few people live. The snow comes from super-cooled droplets of water in clouds, or when the upper air temperatures are below freezing.
Snow is precipitation in the form of white ice crystals, mainly in the shape of branched hexagonal figures, often clustered into snowflakes. No two snowflakes have ever been found to be exactly alike. Snow appears white mainly due to the reflection of light by the tiny surfaces of crystals. Snow may fall when the supercooled water clouds have been converted into ice clouds. One foot of freshly fallen snow equals about the same water content as one inch of rainfall.
For people, children in particular, who have never witnessed snow falling, the initial experience can be very exhilarating and exciting. The snow encountered may arrive in the form of a flurry or shower, brought on by a gust of wind, and ground accumulation could amount to only a dusting or shallow white coating, or the snow deposits may measure any number of inches in height.
The white beauty of freshly fallen snow is often offset by the negative and sometimes dangerous consequences after its initial appearance. Roads may be closed or become slippery. Trees and powerlines can be downed. The weight of heavy snow can collapse a shed or outbuilding. Heavy snow can immobilize a region and paralyze a city. Commuters