ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – With snow showers and above freezing temperatures in the Twin Tiers this week, wet and heavy snow is a possibility.

When heavy snow happens, it is typically wetter than light snow. This is because snowfall with a higher water content has a higher density compared to snowfall that is drier. The snowflakes in dry snow are also usually smaller than the snowflakes in wet snow.

“The difference in that is the more water you have in that snow pack or snowfall, it’s gonna be a lot heavier,” said Michael Kistner, Lead Forecaster at the National Weather Service in Binghamton. “You have a lot more liquid water in there, it’s gonna be a lot harder to lift and a lot harder to move, shovel, plow, and to clean it up.”

One factor that meteorologists consider when predicting the mass of snowfall is the snow to liquid ratio. The snow to liquid ratio states that for every given number of inches of snow on the ground, there is 1 inch of liquid content on the ground as well.

For example, a 10:1 liquid snow ratio means that for every 10 inches of snow, there is 1 inch of water. When the temperature is higher and the snow has a higher chance of melting, the ratio is lower. The lower the snow to liquid ratio, the more likely the snow will be real heavy.

“In some cases when it’s just sleet, we generally see like a 3 to 1 ratio,” Michael adds. “And then a lot of times when you get mixing or heavy wet snow, it’s like a 7 to 1 or an 8 to 1.”

Heavy snow is especially dangerous if you live near a lot of trees. The snow can cause branches to break off, which can also result in power outages. Heavy snow can also make shoveling very tiring, so be sure to take as many breaks as you can when shoveling heavy wet snow.