Monday, 5 Jun 2023

Alberta elements just right to create natural ‘snowballs’

The soft snow and strong winds Alberta experienced on Monday created a perfect storm of sorts for Mother Nature to join in on the winter fun.

Several photos and videos of snowballs rolled by the wind came into the Global News inbox through the day.

Global Edmonton chief meteorologist Jesse Beyer said a few factors came together just right to create the rare occurrence.

“You need to have mild temperatures — enough so that snow will stick together — and couple that with wind strong enough to ‘roll’ the snow,” he said Tuesday.

Photos posted by Krystyna Olineck show just that: a field of snowballs just outside of Vegreville, Alta., with tracks left behind by the snowballs clearly visible and layers of snow as the ball formed.

“Think of rolling balls for a snowman but the wind is doing the work,” Beyer said.

“You need the right temperature, a decent snow pack, a flat open space and a strong wind to come together at the perfect time.”

The phenomenon was seen across central Alberta with photos and videos shared from the Thorsby and Calmar areas as well.

According to Beyer, wind gusts in central Alberta were over 60 km/h on Monday. The Edmonton area saw gusts up to 61 km/h while Lloydminster registered 67 km/h and Red Deer saw 78 km/h wind.

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