By Craig Koplien Special to Published Dec 02, 2013 at 12:30 PM

It cannot be too cold to snow. Snow can form at any temperature provided the right conditions exist.

As long as there is water vapor in the air (which there always is), and conditions exist which chill that air to the point of condensation, precipitation will develop. When the temperature is below freezing, that precipitation will be snow.

Still, it is true that it becomes increasingly difficult for snow to develop as it gets colder.

As air gets colder, it can hold less and less water vapor. For example, air at 0 degrees can hold less water vapor than air at 30 degrees. Therefore, there is less moisture available to become snow in air at 0 degrees than air at 30 degrees does. Plus, conditions which chill air to the point of condensation are less likely to occur when it’s very cold.

Given that very cold air has low moisture content, when it does snow, the flakes are light and fluffy. Conversely, the nearer the temperature is to freezing when snow is falling, the heavier and stickier the flakes tends to be.

So, can it be too cold to snow? No.

But, does snow become less likely when it’s very cold? Yes.

Craig Koplien Special to

Craig is a meteorologist who was born and raised in Pewaukee. After getting a degree in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he worked over 20 years on TV and radio in Milwaukee, Madison, Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri.

Craig spends most of his time trying to keep up with his bride and their three teenage daughters. Any time left over is spent with his other beloveds, the Packers, Brewers and Badgers.