Do you want to build a snowman? NewsCenter1 Meteorologist Anna Hamelin “snows” all about that!

Check out Anna's top three tips on what it takes to build your very own frosty friend!

Olaf The SnowmanRAPID CITY, S.D.– With all of the snow dumped on the Rapid City area throughout the week, there were two very important questions I had in mind: Can you make a snowman with it? And what does it take to be able to build one? NewsCenter1 Meteorologist Anna Hamelin explains all about what it takes to build a snowman, what the best conditions are, and even offers some tips on how to build a snowman of your own.

Is all snow the same?

No. According to Anna, snow has different properties depending on what she and many other weather officials refer to as a snow ratio. “A snow ratio represents the amount of water in an inch of snow,” she says. The higher the number representing the amount of water for one inch of snow, the drier and more powdery the snow is. “That is the kind of snow that you want to go skiing in. That fresh, powdery stuff that you can glide down really easily,” she explained. “Not necessarily good to build a snowman because it is going to fall apart pretty much right away.”

For snow to build a snowman in, she says the number representing the amount of water in a snow ratio should be on the lower side. “Some of the snowfall in this storm has been at about a six-to-one snow ratio, and that means that only six inches of snow would make one inch of water,” she explained. The six-to-one ratio snowfall has around twice as much moisture compared to the previous snowfall, which had about a 15-to-one ratio.

Why does the snow ratio matter?

As previously mentioned, the snow ratio is what lets meteorologists like Anna know whether snow will be more powdery or more firm. And when building a snowman, the differences can be like night and day. “Those water molecules kind of help hold things together as opposed to that super dry, powdery snow,” she explained. “It is like building a snowman out of some of that floam kind of stuff that sticks together really well. So, Play-Doh in some cases, as opposed to building it out of flour.”

How do I get started with my snowman?

When beginning a snowman, the best thing to do is to collect nearby snow into a pile. As Anna and I began building our snowman, we started by collecting snow from around us and patting it down to lock in the general shape of the base. Once gathered together and at an ideal size, smooth out the pile to help create the rounded shape. After the base was sized and shaped to how we wanted, Anna began flattening a small portion of the top. “This will create a platform to place the next part of your snowman and keep it in place,” she explained. After creating the flat surface, we gathered up a smaller pile of snow and formed a snowball before placing it on the flattened portion of the body so we could begin on the upper part. For the head, we created another flattened top on the middle portion and repeated the process. For sizing the different parts, try making them half the size of the previous part and then adjusting to your preference.

As for the finer details like the face, the best thing to do is to use what is around you. While detailing our snow friend, Anna and I decided to use items such as fallen pine cones for his buttons and small rocks for eyes, which we were able to place on the body with just a little amount of force as to not break the body. For his arms and mouth, we collected fallen twigs and made sure that, for his arms, they were close to the same length. To make it look like he had hands, I broke off the ends of the twigs until they were even. Anna found a curved twig that functioned as a mouth to give our snowman, which we named Olaf, a smile.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News