Q What do the different snow terms mean when forecasting snowy weather?

A: The following is what snow meteorological terms mean:

Flurries means that light snow will fall for short durations. No real accumulation or only a light dusting is expected when flurries are predicted.

Snow showers means that snow will fall at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Accumulation (usually not a lot) is possible.

“Snow squalls” describes brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds.

Snow accumulations may be significant. Snow squalls are best known in the Great Lakes region of the country.

Blowing snow is exactly as it sounds – wind-driven snow that reduces visibility and can cause significant drifting.

Blowing snow can be either snow that is falling or snow that is already on the ground and is being picked up by the wind.

Blizzard describes a time when winds over 35 mph accompanied by snow and blowing snow are expected. During blizzards visibility is reduced to near zero.

Q What is the difference between all-season tires and snow tires?

A: All-season tires are designed to handle wet and dry surfaces and some snow. Snow tires are specially constructed to grip snowy surfaces.

The rubber in these tires is developed to stay flexible in the cold and to provide better traction on icy roads.

The downside of snow tires is that they are prone to rapid tread wear and need to be stored in a cool, dry place when not on your car or truck.

There are studded and unstudded snow tires, and before you purchase one type you should check the laws in your state, as some states have outlawed studded snow tires.

To decide if you need or should use snow tires, you should think about what type of roads you usually drive on in the winter.

Do you have to travel in wintery conditions? Are there a lot of back roads you travel on? Do the roads get plowed?

You may also want to talk with your state’s motor vehicle department for advice as well as with experienced drivers who live near you if you are new to the area and unsure of how snowy the road conditions might be in your town.

Q I was told that Jacksonville, Fla., was the largest city in the United States, acre wise, not population, is this true?

A: While New York City is the most populated city in the United States, Juneau, Alaska, is actually the largest city acre wise. Juneau has 3,081 square miles and is larger than the state of Delaware.

However, you, too, are right. Jacksonville is the largest city in the contiguous 48 states, at 841 square miles. Jacksonville includes all of Duval County, Fla., with the exception of the beach communities (Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach) and Baldwin.

If you have a question for the Farmers’ Almanac write to Farmers’ Almanac, P.O. Box 1609, Lewiston, ME 04241 or e-mail: [email protected]

Q What is a chestnut?

A: Chestnut refers to both the tree and the nut produced by the tree. The trees are in the beech family, the same family as oak trees. Chestnut trees date back to antiquity and can be found from Asia to Europe. The American chestnut tree was almost entirely wiped out by a fungus during the first half of the 20th century, but luckily did not become extinct.

The nuts of the tree, chestnuts, are tasty and often served around the autumn holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are filled with protein, and can be eaten alone or used in stuffings, breads and pastas.

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