Weather Wednesday: Why is it quiet outside with fresh snow?

Weather Wednesday

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Everyone has heard of the calm after the storm. During the winter season, the calm is accompanied by silence. There is not complete silence after a winter storm, but when there is fresh snow, our world becomes one big audio booth.

When each snowflake falls, there is space between each flake. Light, fluffy, fresh snow is very porous. That space can be filled with more than just air. Sound waves can be absorbed in those pores or air pockets and can behave like foam in an audio booth. For this to happen, about an inch of fresh snow is needed. More snow allows for it to be more absorbent.

The winter silence is most effective after a fresh snow. When snow sits around and ages, it can melt, settle, freeze, or compact and that will collapse the air bubbles. Snow then does not absorb as much sound as before.

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