CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – We finally saw our first real snowfall across western Massachusetts which raises the question of how does a snowflake form?

You need temperatures below freezing, especially thousands of feet above our heads in the cloud tops. In the clouds, there is an area called the Dendritic Growth Zone. This is an area where super cooled water droplets freeze on pollen or dust particles, eventually forming an ice crystal.

As this ice crystal falls, water vapor freezes to create arms of a snowflake. Eventually, the snowflake gets too heavy and falls from the clouds.

And it is true, each snowflake that dropped from Pittsfield to Brimfield is unique! A snowflake’s shape is determined by the temperature, crystal formation and it’s path to the ground.