Enjoy it (like when you’re cuddling around the fire) or loathe it (when you’re driving). Snow is an essential aspect of winter for a lot of people. Find out more about the fluffy flakes and snowflakes at a deeper level with these 15 fascinating facts about snow.
SNOWFLAKES AREN’T THE ONLY FORM OF SNOW.
It can also form in the form of Sleet or graupel. It is not to be mistaken that hail graupel (or snow pellets) are opaque ice crystals formed when ice crystals drop through cloud droplets frozen, meaning cloud particles are more frigid than the point at which water freezes but remain liquid. Cloud droplets clump together to create a lumpy, soft mass. In contrast, Sleet is made up of droplets of rain that freeze into tiny, transparent balls of ice when they drop out of the sky.
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, TRIED TO MAKE SNOW ILLEGAL.
The snowiest city in the United States is home to a formidable array of plows. But in 1992, the city tried new methods to limit the white snow. Its Common Council passed a decree that any snow that fell before Christmas Eve was prohibited. In the end, Mother Nature is a scofflaw–it snowed only two days later.
IT’S A MYTH THAT NO TWO SNOWFLAKES ARE EXACTLY THE SAME.
In 1988, scientists discovered two identical snow crystals. They were found in a storm in Wisconsin.
THE LARGEST SNOWFLAKE MIGHT HAVE BEEN 15 INCHES WIDE.
Based on some reports, the largest snowflakes that have ever been observed occurred during a snowstorm that hit January 1887 in Montana’s Fort Keogh. Although some witnesses claimed that the flakes appeared to be “larger than milk pans,” the claims haven’t been proved.
SNOW IS TRANSLUCENT, NOT WHITE.
Like the crystals of ice it’s made of, it is colored in a non-existent way. It’s transparent, meaning that light cannot traverse it effortlessly (like it does through transparent glass); however, it’s reflected. It’s the light reflected off the surface of a snowflake that produces its white look.
Why is white? Objects are perceived as different colors because some light wavelengths of light are absorbed, and others are reflected (remember, light is a spectrum of shades). The object absorbs the color of light is being reflected. For instance, the sky color is blue due to the blue wavelengths reflected, while other colors are absorbent. Since snow is composed of so many small surfaces, it is light hitting it is scattered in various directions, and it bounces across the surface as its reflection. This means that no wavelength can be absorbed or reflected with any consistency, and light that is white light bounces back in the color white.
AND, IN FACT, IT DOESN’T ALWAYS APPEAR WHITE.
The deep snow may appear blue. This is because snow layers can act as filters for light that causes greater bright red light to absorb by blue light. In the end, more dense snow appears blue. Consider the way your footprints look to the landscape.
It is also possible for snow to appear pink. In high alpine regions and in the coastal polar regions is awash with cryophilic freshwater algae, which contain a red pigment that tints the snow.
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EACH WINTER IN THE U.S., AT LEAST 1 SEPTILLION ICE CRYSTALS FALL FROM THE SKY.
That’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000–24 zeros!
THE MOST SNOW TO FALL IN 24 HOURS IN THE UNITED STATES IS 75.8 INCHES.
In 1921, 6 feet of snow was accumulated between April 14 at 2.30 p.m. and April 14 and 15 at 10:30 p.m. at Silver Lake, Colorado.
COLORADO ALSO HOLDS THE RECORD FOR THE MOST SNOW TO FALL ON A SINGLE CALENDAR DAY.
On December 4, 1913, an estimated 63 inches of snow fell over Georgetown, Colorado.
SNOW HAS NEVER BEEN REPORTED IN KEY WEST.
The coldest recorded temperature in Florida city (reached on January 13, 1981, and January 12, 1886) is 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
NOT EVERY BIG SNOWSTORM IS A BLIZZARD.
To be classified as a blizzard snowstorm must satisfy a specific set of requirements. The wind must be blowing at a minimum of 35 miles an hour, and the snowfall should decrease visibility to lower than 0.25 miles over a time that is at least 3 hours.
Other common snowstorm types include snow squalls (an intense snowfall accompanied by powerful winds that is only a brief period) and snow burst (a quick severe snowfall that causes an accelerated accumulation of snow).
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IGLOOS CAN BE MORE THAN 100 DEGREES WARMER INSIDE THAN OUTSIDE.
They’re heated entirely through body heat. Because snow that is fresh and compacted is between 90 and 95 percent trapped air (meaning it isn’t able to move or transmit heat), it’s excellent insulation. Animals, including bears, create deep crevices in the snow to rest during the winter months.
NOVA SCOTIA HOLDS THE RECORD FOR THE MOST SNOW ANGELS EVER MADE SIMULTANEOUSLY IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS.
In 2011, 2202 Nova Scotia residents in 130 different locations all got buried on the ground to create snow angels.
NORTH DAKOTA HOLDS THE RECORD FOR MOST SNOW ANGELS MADE SIMULTANEOUSLY IN ONE PLACE.
In 2007, 8962 people from North Dakota plopped down in the snow to move their legs and arms to create snow angels.
FEELING MORE DEVILISH? THE LARGEST SNOWBALL FIGHT ON RECORD TOOK PLACE IN SEATTLE.
A total of 5834 snow-lovers met to swap frozen barrages in the biggest snowball fight ever held in the world on January 12, 2013.