Snowfall in small section of Silverton has neighbors guessing

Snowfall in small section of Silverton has neighbors guessing »Play Video
Neighbors in Silverton are wondering whether a snow-like substance falling in a small part of town is connected to a nearby meat products factory. (KATU photo)

SILVERTON, Ore. – If it looks like snow, feels like snow and falls like snow, then it must be snow, right?

Not always.

A small part of Silverton is covered in a snow-like substance that some neighbors think may be connected to a nearby meat products factory.

“It’s like a winter wonderland driving here, like you don’t see it, then all of the sudden it’s [all around],” said Emerald Peterson.

The snowy section of Silverton has a radius of only a few blocks near BrucePac Meats and Roth’s Supermarket.

“Where we live, halfway up to Silver Falls, we don’t have any of this at all,” said Sarah Matchniff.

“The steam’s freezing, that’s what it is,” said Al Kuenzi, whose theory is gaining traction through town.

KATU Meteorologist Rhonda Shelby cleared the air.

“When we’ve been cold for so long, objects on the ground that are colder than the surrounding air because of all this heat loss start to form what we call radiation frost,” said Shelby. “It almost looks like snow.”

Shelby said the radiation frost, also known as hoar frost, could be enhanced by the steam coming from the meat factory. It’s a more common occurrence on the East Coast, she said.

“It could be the smoke stack or any sort of added moisture coming from a different source. That would make sense,” Shelby said.

Whatever it is, the white stuff has neighbors talking.

“It’s somethin’ else!” said Kuenzi.