Nature's snowballs litter surface of South Okanagan lake - InfoNews

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Nature's snowballs litter surface of South Okanagan lake

Keremeos resident Chris Mathieson took this photo of thousands of natural snowballs that formed on the surface of Yellow Lake on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (SUBMITTED/Chris Mathieson)
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Chris Mathieson
February 19, 2018 - 10:22 AM

PENTICTON - Motorists driving Highway 3A along Yellow Lake near Penticton were treated to an unusual phenomenon o Friday.

Thousands of snowballs littered the frozen surface of the lake Friday afternoon, Feb. 16, after wind action on some recent snow resulted in the unusual sight.

Keremeos resident Chris Mathieson was driving alongside the lake around 3 p.m. and was startled to see snowballs.

“It created the most incredible texture on the lake surface,” he says, adding he’s never seen anything like them before.

Environment Canada meteorologist Lisa West says the phenomenon is known as ‘snow rollers'.

“They are quite rare. A few ingredients have to come together perfectly for them to form,” West says.

The snow needs to have just the right moisture content, and strong winds are necessary in delicate balance, she says, adding snow rollers most often occur in areas of mountainous or hilly terrain where they are aided by gravity.

“The conditions at Yellow Lake must have been just right for them to form on the flat surface of the lake on Friday,” she says.

On Friday afternoon in Penticton there was a 25 km/h wind with gusts up to 40 and the temperature was in the low single digits.

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