Stunning pictures show an unusual cold weather phenomenon known as ‘snow rollers’ which formed in a British field during the this weekend’s snow system.
Brian Bayliss, 51, spotted the six unusual snow formations as he drove past his field in Marlborough, Wiltshire last Sunday.
The cylindrical wheels of wispy snow were about 2-3ft (0.6 – 0.9m) in diameter and 2ft (0.9m) wide and had long trails in their wake.
Mr Bayliss thought that children had been playing in his field so went to take a closer look but was amazed to discover there wasn’t a single footprint.
He sent them to a weather expert who told him they were an ‘extremely rare’ meteorological condition.
Snow rollers form when wind pushes snow across the ground, gathering it into a hollow cylinder.
Bigger snow rollers can be a few inches wide and travel a couple feet, leaving trails behind in their wakes, although more condensed and squished versions can occur.
In order for them to form, there must be a light dusting of snow on top of an icy layer on the ground, often on a hill with no protruding vegetation.
The dusting needs to be just wet enough so that it can adhere to itself but not stick to the ground, according to the National Weather Service.
The wind will blow a small chunk of ice along the ground, leaving it to collect more snow, layer by layer.
While wind helps to form some of the rollers, bigger ones, like these, tend to form by rolling down a hill.
Mr Bayliss said: ‘I was driving to work on Saturday morning and I saw them in my field. It’s at a very high elevation, about 700ft, so the snow was quite deep up there.
‘I thought it was kids rolling snowballs, but as I got closer I saw there were no footprints in the field.
‘I took some pictures and went on with my day, then came over later in the day and they had slumped over and deteriorated, I must have got them at the right time.’
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