Why it gets so quiet after it snows

National

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The winter weather has turned Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky into a snow globe. The snow does more than just look pretty; it acts as a very effective sound absorber.

The reason snow is so good at absorbing sound waves is due to its structure. Snow is made of ice crystals, which have space between them. These open spaces absorb sound waves, creating that serene quiet that happens right after a snowstorm.


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One study found that just 2 inches of snow can absorb 60% of sound waves. The lighter and fluffier the snow, the better it will be at absorbing sound waves.

The quiet from snowfall is something you only see with fresh snow. Once the snow starts to melt, the opposite happens. When the snow melts, refreezes and turns into ice, it can actually get louder.

Ice reflects sound waves and sends them back out to your ears. So that serene quiet is gone.

A winter storm blanketed parts of the South with snow, freezing rain and sleet Thursday, tying up roads in Tennessee and Kentucky as the system tracked a path through Appalachia toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Nashville saw 6.3 inches (16 centimeters) of snowfall on Thursday, shattering the city’s previous Jan. 6 record of 4 inches (10 centimeters) that had stood since 1977, the National Weather Service said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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