From the Weather Center: December 2020

by John Simon
According to the website, International Cloud Atlas, a Snow Devil is a form of whirling column of air with varying height, a small diameter, and an approximately vertical axis.
The Snow Devil is a very rare phenomenon that occurs when surface wind shear acts to generate a vortex over snow cover, resulting a column of snow particles being raised from the ground into the air.
Snow Devils are so rare that only a few of them have ever been seen in photos or videos. A photo of one is included with this column. The photo was taken from a video shot in the Alps near Lessach, Austria in April of 2015.
Although Snow Devils are extremely rare, tornadoes during the winter season are not. Find out why in a future column from the weather center!