Just based on my previous experiences a wetter snow, in general, has larger flakes. Some online sources say that raindrops do have a maximum size before they start to break apart when surface tension can no longer withstand air resistance, however the maximum size of a snowflake is less defined (1&2). One source also states that light winds and a wetter snow is more conducive to larger flakes because the light wind helps keep them from breaking into pieces, and the additional moisture creates a film which helps the flakes stick together (2).
I understand that it may be difficult to measure a snowflake before it melts and that may be why the only non-confirmed size that I have found is from the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records of an eye witness account in 1887 of a snowflake 15" wide by 18" deep (3).
So my question is twofold:
- Is there a theoretical limit to how large a single snowflake can be?
- If there is a reliable way to measure snowflakes, what is the largest snowflake ever measured?