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"Plant Effect Snow' Covers the Area

A rare type of snow falls in Amarillo.
Snow in the winter isn't rare, but the snow our area saw, was.

It was unique because it was something called "plant effect snow."

Some of the snowfall we saw  was actually being caused by some area industrial plants in Borger and northeast of Amarillo.

Chief Meteorologist John Harris breaks it down for us.

He says, "basically what's happening is that the steam and heat coming out of the plant is rising up to a certain level and then it's very quickly condesating because the air is so cold.. and changing over to ice crystals and snow."

He tells us this can only happen if the weather conditions are exactly right.

Many wondered if the snow could potentially be toxic because the steam came from industrial plants.

But we're told it was harmless.

Harris says, "I would doubt very seriously that this snow is toxic.  I think it's more along the lines of just rapid condensation and cooling of the air mass and creating these snowflakes."

Todd Lindley from the National Weather Service says, "it doesn't seem to be any more dangerous than our typical snowfall.  The narrow corridor plume of heat and steam that came from the plant just enhanced that normal, naturel process."

he says at the peak of the snowfall, it fell all the way in Swisher County, around Happy.

Chief Meteorologist John Harris says this may happen more often than we know.

He says the event was unusual because of the amount of snow that fell.
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