Ever Heard Of Snow Donuts?
January 30, 2014

Ever Heard Of Snow Donuts?

These donuts don’t come from your local coffee shop or donut franchise. They don’t have jelly inside or have sprinkles. They can only be found in the winter when weather conditions are right.

Remember when we were kids and the snow was perfect for making a snowman. We would roll the snow into balls and make the bottom, then make a smaller snowball for the middle and another for the top.

A snow donut is made by the same principle, except there is no human interaction.

A snow donut, or snow roller, is a natural weather phenomenon that is produced when snow is blown along the ground by high winds, or if a clump of snow falls from a tree and lands on a slope, then rolls down the hill.

This is a very rare occurrence and only happens when the conditions are perfect. Once the cylinder shaped clump of snow is produced and comes to a rest, the center is then blown away because the inner layer is thinner, thus producing a snow donut.

Some of these snow donuts can be as large as two feet in diameter, but not all become hollow. These are the snow rollers and some can be many feet long.

Image Credit: Petr Dlouhy

Image Credit: Petr Dlouhy

Conditions needed for this phenomenon to take place are as follows:

The ground below a thin layer of snow must be a layer of ice or other material so the snow will not stick to it.

The thin layer of snow must be wet and loosely packed with a temperature near the melting point.

How the snow donut, or snow roller, moves must also have certain conditions to develop:

Wind driven snow donuts and snow rollers are formed when the wind is strong enough to move them, but not strong enough to destroy them.

Another way they are formed is by gravity. If a snow ball lands on a slope steep enough, it will begin to roll and accumulate more snow as it rolls down the hill.

Over the years snow rollers have popped up mainly in the US, but a few occurrences have been abroad.

According to the Daily Mail, Ron Trevett and his wife noticed hundreds of balls of snow in a field near their home in Yeovil, Somerset. Most of them had a hollow center like donuts.

“We saw them from a distance on the ridge of the field, and we thought some kids had been playing up there and making giant snowballs. But when we got up there we saw there were no footprints and there were hundreds of them, too many for children to have done it. We realized it must have been the wind. We feel very lucky. I’m the wrong side of fifty and I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. We were gobsmacked to look at them there in the sunlight. It was a really impressive sight and I took some pictures so other people could share it,” stated Mr. Trevett.

Image Credit: slate99slate

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