Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Episode 612 (1-17-22): Winter Word Whirlwind

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:39).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Extra Information
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 1-14-22.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 17, 2022.  This revised episode from January 2016 is part of a series this year of winter-related episodes.

MUSIC – ~12 sec – instrumental.

With a winter storm state of emergency declared by Virginia’s governor on January 14, that excerpt from “Drive the Cold Winter Away,” by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va., sets the stage for a winter word whirlwind!  Have a listen for about 15 seconds to a series of mystery guest voices, and see if you know what all of these voices would be saying in English.  And if you’ve been shoveling, plowing, or sledding, you probably don’t need a hint!

VOICES and INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC- ~15 sec – “Die shney. Der Schnee. Sneg. La neige. La neve. La nieve. Xuĕ. Salji.

If you guessed snow, you’re right!  You heard the words for snow in Yiddish, German, Russian, French, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Malay.  Even within individual languages, snow can have many names.  The Inuit people of the Arctic region, for example, have different terms for falling snow, snow that collects on trees, snow on the ground, wind-beaten snow, drifting snow, and many others.  Snow scientists, too, use different terms to distinguish types of snow crystals, snowfalls, and snow conditions on the ground.  Columns, plates, needles, stellar crystals, and irregular crystals are some of the terms used by scientists to describe snowflake types.  And can you guess what term encompasses not only snow and ice on land but all of the frozen water on earth? If you said cryosphere, you’re a snow genius!

Thanks to several Blacksburg residents for lending their voices to this episode.  Thanks also to Timothy Seaman for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 20 more seconds of “Drive the Cold Winter Away.”

MUSIC -- ~24 sec – instrumental.


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 300, 1-25-16.

“Drive the Cold Winter Away” is a traditional tune performed by Timothy Seaman and Phillip Skeens on the 1998 album “Celebration of Centuries,” copyright by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  More information about Mr. Seaman’s music is available online http://timothyseaman.com/.  This selection was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 553, 11-30-20.

Thanks to several Blacksburg, Va., residents for recording snow terms on January 20, 2016.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.


Snow-covered Virginia Pine in Blacksburg, Va., January 16, 2022.

Snow plow in Blacksburg, Va., January 16, 2022.

Snowflakes in the glow of a street light in Blacksburg, Va., January 16, 2022.

View from inside an igloo constructed in a Blacksburg, Va., neighborhood, February 15, 2014.


The following information is quoted from National Snow and Ice Data Center, “All About Snow,” online at https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/snow, accessed January 18, 2022.

“Snow cover is a part of the cryosphere, which traces its origins to the Greek word kryos for frost.  Snow is precipitation in the form of ice crystals. It originates in clouds when temperatures are below the freezing point (0 degrees Celsius, or 32 degrees Fahrenheit), when water vapor in the atmosphere condenses directly into ice without going through the liquid stage.  Once an ice crystal has formed, it absorbs and freezes additional water vapor from the surrounding air, growing into a snow crystal or snow pellet, which then falls to Earth.

“Snow falls in several forms:
*Snowflakes are clusters of ice crystals that fall from a cloud.
*Snow pellets, or graupel, are opaque ice particles in the atmosphere.  They form as ice crystals fall through supercooled cloud droplets, which are below freezing but remain a liquid.  The cloud droplets then freeze to the crystals, forming a lumpy mass. Graupel tends to be soft and crumbly.
*Sleet is composed of drops of rain or drizzle that freeze into ice as they fall, and is sometimes called a wintery mix of rain and snow.  These small, translucent balls of ice are usually smaller than 0.76 centimeters (0.30 inches) in diameter.  Official weather observations may list sleet as ice pellets. In some parts of the United States, the term sleet can refer to a mixture of ice pellets and freezing rain.”


Used for Audio

Lori Aratani, “Virginia governor declares state of emergency ahead of winter storm,” Washington Post, 1/14/22.

Nolan J. Doesken and Arthur Judson, The Snow Booklet: A Guide to the Science, Climatology, and Measurement of Snow in the United States, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., 1997.

D.M. Gray and D.M. Hale, Handbook of Snow: Principles, Processes, Management & Use, Blackburn Press, Caldwell, N.J., 1981.

James C. Halfpenny and Roy Douglas Ozanne, Winter: An Ecological Handbook, Johnson Books, Boulder, Colo., 1989.

J. Sydney Jones, “Inuit,” on “Countries and Their Cultures” Web site, online at http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Ha-La/Inuit.html.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Ocean Service, “What is the Cryosphere?”, online at http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/cryosphere.html.

National Snow and Ice Data Center, “All About Snow,” online at https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/snow.

Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, “Governor Northam Declares State of Emergency; Incoming winter storm expected to bring snow to much of Virginia,” 1/14/22 (release no longer available online as of 1/18/22).

For More Information on Snow and Snowfall Forecasts and Accumulations

For sources of information on snowfall forecasts and accumulation, please see this Virginia Water Central News Grouper post: Snowfall Prediction and Accumulation Information and Map Sources for Virginia and Nationwide, as of January 2022.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Weather/Climate/Natural Disasters” subject categories.

Following are links to several other winter-related episodes, including episodes on some birds that reside in Virginia typically only in winter (listed separately).  Please note that some of these episodes are being redone in late 2021 and early 2022; in those cases, the respective links below will have information on the updated episodes.

Frost – Episode 597, 10-4-21.
Freezing and ice – Episode 606, 12-6-21 (especially for grades K-3).
Ice on ponds and lakes – Episode 404, 1-22-18 (especially for grades 4-8).
Ice on rivers – Episode 406, 2-5-18 (especially for middle school grades).
Polar Plunge® for Special Olympics – Episode 356, 2-20-17.
Snow physics and chemistry – Episode 407, 2-12-18 (especially for high school grades).
Snow, sleet, and freezing rain – Episode 461, 2-25-19.
Surviving freezing – Episode 556, 12-21-20.
Winter precipitation and water supplies – Episode 567, 3-8-21.
Winter weather preparedness – Episode 605, 11-29-21.
Water thermodynamics – Episode 610, 1-3-22.

Bird-related Episodes for Winter

Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count – Episode 607, 12-13-21.
American Avocet – Episode 543, 9-21-20.
Brant (goose) – Episode 502, 12-9-19.
Canvasback (duck) – Episode 604, 11-22-21.
Common Goldeneye (duck) – Episode 303, 2/15/16.
Green-winged Teal (duck) – Episode 398, 12-11-17.
Grebes (Horned and Red-necked) – Episode 233, 9-29-14.
Loons – Episode 445, 11-5-18.
Fall migration – Episode 603, 11-15-21.
Northern Harrier – Episode 561, 1-25-21.
Snow Goose – Episode 507, 1/13/20.
Tundra Swan – Episode 554, 12-7-20.
Winter birds sampler from the Chesapeake Bay area – Episode 565, 2-22-21.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2017 English SOLs

Reading Theme
5.4, 6.5, 7.4, 8.4, 8.5, 9.3, 9.4, 10.3, 10.4, 11.4 – Symbols, imagery, figurative language, and other literary devices.

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-3 plus 5: Matter
K.4 – Water is important in our daily lives and has properties.
2.3 – Matter can exist in different phases.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
K.9 – There are patterns in nature.
1.7 – There are weather and seasonal changes.
2.6 – There are different types of weather on Earth.
2.7 – Weather patterns and seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and their surroundings.
4.4 – Weather conditions and climate have effects on ecosystems and can be predicted.

Grade 6
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.
6.7 – Air has properties and the Earth’s atmosphere has structure and is dynamic.

Earth Science
ES.11 – The atmosphere is a complex, dynamic system subject to long-and short-term variations.
ES.12 – The Earth’s weather and climate result from the interaction of the sun’s energy with the atmosphere, oceans, and the land.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 Geography Theme
1.6 – Virginia climate, seasons, and landforms.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – How selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.3 – How regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels (* indicates episode also listed above in the “Related Water Radio Episodes” section).

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
*Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
*Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
*Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.
*Episode 606, 12-6-21 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.