West Michigan awakes to hoar frost

Posted at 11:53 AM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 11:53:50-05

WEST MICHIGAN — Friday morning was one of our coldest thus far this season. Clear skies, light winds, high pressure, and a little extra moisture or humidity with the snow pack on the ground were excellent prerequisites for something called hoar frost.

We see hoar frost from time to time, but one can understand from the criteria above why conditions need to be just right for it to occur. There are thousands of meteorological terms, but let me throw out another one. DEPOSITION! A process by which water vapor (or gas) moves directly to a solid state (ice/frost) without passing through the liquid state/phase. That’s typically what happens when hoar frost forms. One of the really neat things about this particular type of frost is the crystalline structure of the ice deposition and how it is clearly visible. It can actually stick out or protrude far above the surface it’s attached to. A perfect example is the photo below as hoar frost formed on the shovel.

Here’s a few photos snapped by some of our FOX 17 viewers. The first is from Luke and Lauren Olmstead.

Hoar Frost Luke

Here’s another from Rachael Malott Katsma below.

hoar frost rachael

And one more on the shovel from Tara Foote.

Frost Shovel

The last photo below was submitted by Jan Lubbers in Hamilton. Beautiful!

Big Hoar Frost

You can read a little more on hoar frost here on Wikipedia. There’s  a big warm up coming next week. Make sure to get the complete West Michigan forecast at