Weight of Snow by Snow Type
The following table provides typical weights or densities for snow that has formed and accumulated under various conditions. Weights for air, ice, and liquid water are also included, as these are the three principal components of snow.
Snow density is a function of temperature, wind exposure, and time. Snow density increases over time as the snow experiences more changes in temperature and wind. Warmer temperatures lead to higher (and heavier) moisture content; the water may re-freeze into ice when the temperature drops. Wind abrades snow particles, making them smaller so they fit together more tightly, compacting the snow, so snow will be heavier after windy weather.
The weight of a given volume of snow can be an important piece of information for a number of reasons. For instance, a typical scoop of snow with a snow shovel is about 1.5 cubic feet, so there’s a good chance you’re out there lifting more than 30 lbs over and over again while you’re clearing your driveway. Good to know.
Roof collapse due to overloading by snow is a primary concern of people looking up the weight of snow. For in-depth information on this topic, please see the links available on our page Snow Issues and Roofs.
All weights given in the table are approximations and real world values will vary.
Snow Structure and Ski Fields, being an Account of Snow and Ice Forms met with in Nature and a study on Avalanches and Snowcraft; G. Seligman; With an Appendix on Alpine Weather; C. K. M. Douglas; 1936