The light snow that fell throughout Michiana on Wednesday morning, Jan. 20, was especially sparkly, an unusual sight for a region used to heavier lake effect snow.
The glittery effect was caused by low water content in the snow. Because the flakes were fine and drier than heavier snow, they catch and reflect light easily, according to Lonnie Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Syracuse.
“The bigger flakes that you see, when you get the really heavy snow, they really don’t sparkle a lot,” Fisher told 95.3 MNC. “(The smaller flakes are) really excellent at reflecting the light.”
It’s the same thing that causes snow pillars, the vertical bars that sometimes appear in the sky where snow is falling. Light reflects off the fine snow crystals, causing the pillars.
“It’s a beautiful sight,” Fisher said. “And there’s no wind to make a mess and blow it around.”
The sparkle will eventually fade as the temperatures warm to a high around 21 degrees on Wednesday. There might be some light snowfall later on Wednesday, but otherwise Fisher said that snow won’t return to Michiana until early next week.