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[pct-l] Re: pct-l-digest V1 #438

At 12:00 AM 3/31/98 -0600, Kahley wrote:
>I'm not a scientist.  The following is based on a personal experience.
>A couple years ago we had two big snows within the last ten days
>of Jan. The result was a five foot snowpack. The 2nd or 3rd of Feb.
>the temps rose into the upper thirties and it started to rain.  Over the
>48 hours the rain continued and the temps reached 50.  The results...
>deadly flash floods.  The dinky  stream that runs past our house
>(except for some Augusts) raged five foot deep and 12 feet wide.
>After that 48 hour rain which might have totaled 2-3 inches, there was
>basically no snow left.
>So my question is....what melted the snow?  Since it was raining, there
>was no sunshine, but all the snow disappeared .

Was there much wind associated with the rain storm? 50 degree temperatures
with wind will melt snow quite fast. Even on a cloudy day there is
radiation reaching the ground surface too. Separating the rain from the
rest of this equation is easy. As an experiment you can take some snow and
pack it into a tall can. Weigh the snow to get its water content. Take a
can that's the same size and put 2 inches of 50 degree water in it.
Sprinkle the water on the snow. You'll see that the water didn't come close
to melting even this small amount of snow. Now, in your mind, pack 5 feet
of snow in a tube that is the same diameter as the can. Sprinkle the 2 or 3
inches of water from the can into the tube. You'll notice that the snow
near the surface melts but then refreezes very quickly.

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