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Right now, outside is snowing. No matter what window I look from, the snow constantly for last few hours tends to fall to the right close to the window, and to the left close to the building across the street, just like it would suggest the Coriolis effect on northern hemisphere.

I understand the Coriolis effect applies for air flow and the reasons for this may be in something completely different, specific to the street I am in. But in theory - could the Coriolis effect on snowing be so dramatic, it would be observable?

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    $\begingroup$ Snow motion is mostly affected by wind, and so since the air moves with the earth, you might not notice anything unusual. $\endgroup$ – John Alexiou Mar 25 '14 at 19:44
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could the Coriolis effect on snowing be so dramatic...?

No. The Coriolis effect is only noticeable for objects traveling long distances with respect to Earth's surface for significant periods of time. For example, a ballistic missile fired hundreds of miles or a hurricaine that is hundreds of miles in diameter and lasts for days. Across the street is too small a distance for an noticeable effect.

The Rossby Number can be used to determine if the Coriolis effect is significant in a given situation.

Another way of thinking of it is: the Earth only rotates once a day, how does the phenomenon being investigated compare to this fact?

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  • $\begingroup$ I believe "the Earth only rotates once a day" is the key point here. I have to say, until now I believed the direction of vortex while draining a bathtub is related to Coriolis force, but after reading your answer and doing just a bit of searching, I learned I was mistaken. I was told this at high school by physics teacher, and heck even at Physics course at university! $\endgroup$ – Petr Mar 25 '14 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ Alistair Fraser has a nice Bad Coriolis site: ems.psu.edu/~fraser/Bad/BadCoriolis.html $\endgroup$ – DavePhD Mar 25 '14 at 19:24
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Yes, but it would be completely overwhelmed by wind currents.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi garyp, can you expand your answer a bit? $\endgroup$ – Brandon Enright Mar 25 '14 at 17:41

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