Rare winter phenomenon: Snow rollers

Sometimes, snow rollers take on a layered structure, as in this photo taken in 2005. (Photo credit: iWitnessWeather contributor joebag)

Sometimes, snow rollers take on a layered structure, as in this photo taken in 2005. (Photo credit: iWitnessWeather contributor joebag)

Snow rollers up to 2 feet tall cover a field near Craigmont, Idaho on Mar. 31, 2009. (Photo credit: Tim Tevebaugh via NWS-Spokane)

Snow rollers up to 2 feet tall cover a field near Craigmont, Idaho on Mar. 31, 2009. (Photo credit: Tim Tevebaugh via NWS-Spokane)

Snow rollers from Winter Storm Rocky on Feb. 26, 2013. (Photo credit: Lucinda Gates via NWS-Wichita)

Snow rollers from Winter Storm Rocky on Feb. 26, 2013. (Photo credit: Lucinda Gates via NWS-Wichita)

Snow rollers, a rare natural occurrence, were spotted in Fairfield, Idaho, this week. The rollers are formed when strong winds pick up moist snow and carry it along the ground, gathering more snow and forming cylinders. The largest rollers may be as big as barrels.

According to the National Weather Service, these are the ideal conditions for the formation of snow rollers:

  • Existing icy or crusty snow cover, so additional snow will not stick to it.
  • Additional wet, loose snow on top of the icy, crusty snow cover
  • Wind strong enough to scoop out balls of snow and propel snow roller foward.
  • At least some slope to the ground.

Additonal snow roller photos: Rare Snow Rollers Spotted in Idaho



Categories: Green

6 replies

  1. No, No, No. Aliens in UFO’s did it. Look at the structure! Obviously made by an intelligence. Is Art Bell still alive?

  2. Snow rollers—something other-worldly about them!

“The opinions of others should not deter you from being yourself.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

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