LIMA — They have blown along like a tumbleweed. And they look like Swiss cake rolls, minus the cake.
Some residents in the region woke up Monday to what are called snow rollers, a rare weather phenomenon, in which snow is rolled to create a cylindrical snow ball. They look a bit like a large ball rolled for a snowman, except that the rings of rolling are still visible. They also leave trails from where they started.
Some snow rollers are formed by gravity, but the ones in the region were made by wind. The phenomenon occurs when the conditions are just right.
A unique combination of snow, wind, temperature and moisture is needed to create them, according to the National Weather Service. They form with light but sticky snow and strong (but not too strong) winds. The ground must be covered with ice and then wet snow. It then takes a strong wind to create the rolled snow.
Some people saw them on roofs of homes, while others had them in backyards or nearby fields.
Jack and Wilma Laeufer, of Monroe Township in northern Allen County, found some in their front yard. The largest was 18 inches in diameter.
Deb Springer sent in photos to the paper of snow rollers that developed overnight in a field near Sandusky Road, and Mary Early sent in photos of snow rollers from her Lima-area yard.
Springer found various sizes in the yard and field near her home, on the east side of Allen County.
“We had them from the size of a pool cue ball to bigger than a basketball,” Spring said. “It's a nice, fun thing to come from all this cold and weather.”
Jerry Stasel, on Facebook, said of the rollers, “I think God enjoys building snowmen too.”