Are snowflakes truly unique? How big can they get? Do you know the difference between freezing rain and sleet? We’ve compiled a list of interesting and sometimes strange facts about winter and winter weather… Read on for answers!

It Doesn’t Take Much Water to Create a Blanket of Snow

Fluffy snow contains a lot less water than you’d think – a good portion is made up of air. So, you don’t need a lot of moisture to create a lot of snow. What would be only an inch of rain in the summer could create up to 10-inches of snow in the winter!

Thundersnow is Rare, but A Real Phenomenon

Most common near lakes, thundersnow occurs when warm columns of air rise from the ground and create storm clouds. This turbulent air can create a rumbling of thunder. It may be harder to hear during a snowstorm, however, because the snowfall dampens the sound.

The Earth is Closer to the Sun During Winter

It’s a common misconception that the Earth is further from the sun during the colder months. For those of us in North America, the Earth is actually nearest to the sun! The colder air is caused by the Earth’s tilt, which is why the different hemispheres experience winter on opposite ends of the year.

A Japanese City Holds the Record for Yearly Snowfall

Aomori City in Japan holds the yearly snowfall record over any other major city. On average, the city receives around 26 feet of snow!

Snowflakes Are Not Always Unique

In 1988, two snowflakes that fell in Wisconsin were confirmed to be twins by scientists at a research center in Colorado. Most likely, this is not the only time twin snowflakes have fallen.

Freezing Rain is Not the Same as Sleet

While they seem very similar, freezing rain and sleet form differently. The key difference is that sleet is rainfall that has nearly frozen before hitting the ground, and freezing rain is rainfall that doesn’t freeze until it lands.