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Good Question: Can It Be Too Cold To Snow?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The upcoming seven-day forecast shows both snow and subzero temperatures.

If you grew up in Minnesota, you have likely heard someone tell you it is too cold to snow.

"Maybe there's something going on in the sky and God says, 'You know what? They're already freezing their butts off, let's hold back on the snow!'" joked one Minneapolis woman.

But it turns out the science does not support that theory – at least on Earth.

"It's not physically possible here on Earth to get too cold to snow," said Alli Keclik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

It snowed 8.4 inches in the Twin Cities on Jan. 16, 1994. The temperature that day ranged between zero and minus-15 degrees.

Keclik says while it is certainly possible for snow to fall in very cold temperatures, it is less likely. The colder it gets, the less moisture there is in the air because the air cannot physically hold it.

That would partly explain why the two largest snowstorms in the Twin Cities were during Halloween 1991 and in late November 1985 -- when winter had not even started.

The temperature where it would be too cold to snow is absolute zero, which is minus-273 degrees Celsius -- or minus-459.4 Fahrenheit.

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