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Rare “man-made” snow event near Colfax drops 6 inches on part of the community

Colfax (WQOW) – Tuesday’s flurries dropped a very thin layer of fresh powder around Eau Claire.

But, one tiny area in Colfax managed to get six inches.

“Trying to watch the radar and see if it would show any kind of snow or precipitation and there was nothing on there,” said Tyler Knutson, patrolman for the Town of Colfax.

Knutson drives a plow for city, and while most of the region saw just a light dusting, he said six to seven inches fell along a narrow strip near town.

“I had about five hours this morning [to plow], it was only about half the township that had snow in it. The heavy snow was probably a mile wide, and then within a mile outside that range it was just a trace to nothing,” Knutson said.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Caleb Grunzke said it was hardly visible on radar because the earth is curved and radar beams are not.

The main cause? Grunzke believes it’s steam from nearby factories, that helped create this “man-made” snow.

“The factories are releasing warm moist air into the atmosphere and it’s cooling down because that atmospheric air is cold. So, the warm moist air from the factory can’t hold that moisture anymore as it’s cooling down. So, it begins to precipitate within the right temperatures to precipitate as snow,” Grunzke said.

Grunzke said multiple factories may have contributed to the “man-made” snow, and he has seen this weather phenomenon before.

Justin Esterly

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