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Penn State’s First Snowfall: A Microscale Event

Students and faculty waking up this morning were greeted by an unexpected sight: a light layer of snow that covered every tree branch and blade of grass, abruptly shifting Penn State into the frigid grasp of winter.

For some students with a short walk to class, this may have been the spark of excitement they needed to get them through to winter break. For others who drive into State College, the light snowfall may have made their commute more dangerous.

Photo by: US National Weather Service State College PA
Photo by: US National Weather Service State College PA

According to a Facebook post by the US National Weather Service in State College, PA, the showering of snow over Happy Valley was so small and isolated that it wasn’t picked up by local weather reporting stations. The post reads:

“Even though the area is under high pressure, a localized area of light snow fell overnight just to the east of State College. As dense fog developed over the region, several tenths of snow fell over a roughly three square-mile area near the Nittany mall. Dense fog was common over the area as temperatures fell into the mid 20s overnight. This led to slippery driving conditions on bridges and overpasses. However, in the small area indicated on the map below, additional moisture was added to the atmosphere by the natural condensation process of the local sewer treatment plant. The additional moisture precipitated as a light snow. Just beyond the yellow circle on the map, no accumulation was noted.This process would be considered a microscale event – too isolated to be captured by local weather reporting stations.”

Photo by: US National Weather Service State College PA
Photo by: US National Weather Service State College PA

Even though the snow quickly melted when the sun came up, those waking up for 8 a.m.’s caught a glimpse of what Happy Valley may look like in a few short weeks. Since students began their final week of the fall semester today, it’s only appropriate that Penn State got its own little taste of winter.

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About the Author

Katie Klodowski

Katie is a senior from Pittsburgh, PA and a retired editor at Onward State. Currently, she works as a staff writer. True to her hometown, she is a fan of Steel City sports but also uses her ballet and music training to be a tough critic of all things artsy. The fastest ways to her heart are through pizza, sushi, and a solid taste in music (this means no Taylor Swift). To be constantly razzle-dazzled, follow her on all social media forms at @KatieKlodowski


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