‘We don’t see them often’: Sask. storm creates perfect conditions for ‘snow rollers’ to form

SASKATOON —
A severe snowstorm that brought wind gusts of up to 102 km/h in Saskatoon left some souvenirs in its wake thanks to a rare weather phenomenon.

Many awoke this morning to find dozens of naturally forming snowballs strewn over the ground.

They are called “snow rollers” and they need exact weather conditions to form, Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Terri Lang said during a city news conference Thursday morning.

“What happens is you need really quite warm conditions when it’s snowing. And I think everybody last night, and sees this morning, all the snow that’s plastered on the side of their house that speaks to how sticky the snow was. Perfect snowman-making snow.”

Strong winds can lift up that sticky snow and start rolling it, she said.

“And if you look at them, they look like cinnamon rolls. You can get fields full of them and the farther that they have an open space, the longer they’ll roll for, so we don’t see them often. I have seen them before but they are really cool phenomena.”

If they were forming in Saskatoon, they were also likely forming in the nearby countryside as well, she said.