Gonna make this a quickie.
Unlike the many powdery coatings that've prettified NYC this winter, today's storm is dumping perfect-packing, weapons-grade snow across the city. Really good stuff, the kind you barely need to compact in order to nail someone.
Clearly, there was a need for someone to calculate the snowball yield.
Since it would be excruciating to account for trees, roofs, and other inaccessible spots on a city-wide basis, I've narrowed it down to Central Park, which also happens to be the mecca for local meteorologists.
The park's 843 acres are composed of:
- 150 acres in 7 waterbodies
- 250 acres of lawns
- 80 acres of woodlands
843 minus 150 water and 80 woodland = 613 acres. 250 are open lawn with the remaining 363 consisting of roads, paths, promenades, fountains and terrain that's neither lawn nor woodland...but exposed enough for snow accumulation.
At 43,560 ft² per acre, 631 acres is 27.48 million square feet.
"Seven inches of snow have fallen on Central Park. We’re on our way to 8 to 14 inches in the city." - NYTimes.com, an hour ago.
So call it 12 inches, which super-conveniently works out to 27.48 million cubic feet of raw material.
But how many snowballs are in a cubic foot? Strangely enough, the internet provides no authority on the matter and, like meatballs and matzoh balls, there's no such thing as a standard. My preference is for a medium-size, medium-density snow ball that's got enough mass to be thrown pretty far and explode entertainingly on impact. Facial detonation should embarrass, not bruise.
Based on utterly unscientific trials, I was able to produce 6 grenades of the above specifications from one cubic foot of snow. 27.48 ft³ x 6 per yields 164.88 million snowballs.
If all 1.1 million NYC public school students came down to the park, the arsenal would arm them with 150 snowballs a piece.