Snow rollers: Weird weather phenomenon catches snowmobiler by surprise

Credit: Wikicommons

Credit: Wikicommons

A snowmobiler in northern Idaho stumbled across a rare weather phenomenon Tuesday morning called snow rollers.

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It looks like snow is rolling itself into large doughnut-shaped snowballs almost by magic, but it’s really a phenomenon that only occurs under the perfect conditions.

The ideal mix for a snow roller to form, includes a light dusting of snow that's wet enough to stick to the ground, but loose enough so it doesn't cling. Wind speeds have to be strong enough to push the snow along the ground so that it curls up into a signature, snow roller loop, according to the National Weather Service.

Matt Drechsel told KHQ-TV he saw dozens of the rollers in a field in Worley and stopped to take a few photos.

Dreschel said he’s only seen snow rollers one other time in his life, so he was surprised when he stumbled across a field full of them.

National Geographic called them "the cold weather equivalent of tumbleweeds." They're also called snow bales, wind snowballs or snow doughnuts. Bigger snow rollers can grow as large as a few inches wide and travel several feet.

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