Physics Photo of the Week

March 23, 2012

March Snow Squall
In early March 2012, after an exceptionally mild winter, we had some blustery weather with combined snow squalls as well as sunshine.  Here we can see the snow squall falling in Davidson Cove near Warren Wilson College.  This appeared on Sunday afternoon March 4, 2012 - two days after unseasonably warm weather.  The warm weather also brought much moisture from the Gulf of Mexico several days later.  When a strong cold front came through
Friday, a number of deadly tornadoes were spawned through several states, including Cherokee County, NC - about 100 miles to the west of WWC.  The heavy cold air, the lingering moisture from the previous week, brought the snow squalls on March 4 as well as tornadoes.

The animated picture at right shows the clouds and snow blowing from the northwest (from the left side of the image) toward the southeast.  The day was punctuated by alternate periods of sunshine and clouds along with a strong cold wind from the northwest.  The time-lapse was made by recording an image every 10 seconds and played back at about 10 frames per second - a speed up of about 100 times.

Physics Photo of the Week is published weekly during the academic year on Fridays by the Warren Wilson College Physics Department. These photos feature interesting phenomena in the world around us.  Students, faculty, and others are invited to submit digital (or film) photographs for publication and explanation. Atmospheric phenomena are especially welcome. Please send any photos to

All photos and discussions are copyright by Donald Collins or by the person credited for the photo and/or discussion.  These photos and discussions may be used for private individual use or educational use.  Any commercial use without written permission of the photoprovider is forbidden.

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