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.
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.”
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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