Mother Nature is capable of producing some amazing weather phenomenons, and we’ve certainly seen our share.
But earlier this week Salem, Oregon, resident Rick Brady walked out his house and saw something that even our meteorologists have never seen before.
The long, thin band of snow on Brady’s windshield looked just like a rolled up bit of carpet. The rest of his windshield was covered in snow, but the hood of his vehicle was completely bare.
“I just walked outside and it was there,” Brady told weather.com. “I’d kind to like to know how this might have happened.”
Well, Rick, we may have an answer for you.
These rollers form when light, wet and sticky snow is rolled into a large, cylindrical snowball by strong, but not too strong, winds. (Rick Brady)
“This picture looks very similar to snow rollers, although I’ve never seen one on a car before,” said weather.com meteorologist Lind Lam. “Snow rollers form when light, wet and sticky snow is rolled into a large, cylindrical snowball by strong, but not too strong, winds.”
Snow rollers often form in hilly fields, where the wind can be helped along by gravity. They can be as small as rolls of toilet paper or as large as oil barrels.
“Snow rollers can even leave tracks where they aggregate the wet, loose snowcover,” said weather.com senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman, “similar to the famous sliding rocks on the Racetrack in Death Valley.”
When snow rollers get too heavy to be moved by the wind, or, in Brady’s case, hit an immovable object like a windshield, they stop, leaving the perfectly symmetrical cylinders behind. What’s unusual in Brady’s case is that the roller actually moved uphill – up the slight slope of the hood of Brady’s truck.
It’s certainly something that got our meteorologists talking.