With similarities to this question: What is the word for "Slow raining"? but related to snow, not rain.

I'm looking for a descriptive word that would describe slow snowfall. Can you help?

  • Are you sure you actually mean "slow"? There's a definite real-world phenomenon whereby small raindrops fall slower, so "slow" rain almost certainly implies less precipitation over a given timeframe. But I'm far from convinced the same effect applies with snow. Snowflakes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and there isn't necessarily any correlation between the air resistance/snowflake weight ratio. Slow falling snow could pile up faster than snow falling faster, or vice-versa. So do you perhaps really mean light snowfall (less precipitation)? – FumbleFingers Oct 8 '13 at 22:36
  • 2
    I've always called this a gentle pitty-pat, after the ditty in Bill, the Galactic Hero: Stand together One and All / For Brothers Deplanned always shall / Unite and Fight to achieve the Right / That Might shall fail and Truth avail / So that we / who once were free / can someday be / Once more free to see the skies of blue Above / And hear the gentle pitty-pat / Of snow. But sadly it hasn't caught on. – Brian Hooper Oct 9 '13 at 7:55
  • Living in Minnesota for the past 40 years: Probably I would just say "light snow", though "flurry" or "snow shower" is a possibility. (Never heard "flurry" used to refer to wind-driven snow -- that would be "drifting". Never heard of "snow flume".) – Hot Licks Nov 28 '14 at 1:53

You mean a snow flurry?

a light, brief shower of snow.

A snow flurry is a brief instance of light snow, with very little or no accumulation of snow on the ground.

A snow shower in which only light snow falls for a few minutes is typically called a snow flurry. Flurries usually produce little accumulation (Definition from American Meteorological Society and National Snow and Ice Data Centre).

Intense snow showers on the other hand are called snow squalls and snowbursts. Snowdrift refers to accumulation.

  • A flurry is often used to describe the way the snow reacts to a gust of wind. I'm looking for an actual word of the snowfall itself; not sure if one even exists! – Dan Hanly Oct 8 '13 at 22:09
  • check this out: komonews.com/weather/faq/4348031.html – user49727 Oct 8 '13 at 22:12
  • The way I have heard snow flurries used in weather reports in the U.S. Northeast, it means a light accumulation of snow, and has nothing to do with wind. The usage may be different in the U.K. – Peter Shor Oct 9 '13 at 4:46
  • Snow flurry refers to the duration of the snow fall (a short snow fall), not the speed at which it falls. Often, the slowest-falling flakes will occur heavily during a longer storm producing greater accumulation. – Kylos Apr 11 '14 at 21:02

When there is a very light snowfall I often hear dusting.

For slow snow I have heard the term heavy used to describe the snow flakes probably because the flakes are bigger (which causes them to fall slower).


Aren't you just looking for snowfall? Snow falls pretty slowly all by its lonesome, no need to qualify. You would have to qualify if you wanted to describe snow falling quickly but not the other way around.


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