It’s cold. It can cause chaos when it piles up on streets, driveways, sidewalks, and porches. It can be beautiful, and it can be deadly.
But how much do you really know about snow?
Here are five fun facts that will increase your knowledge about that cold white stuff that falls from the skies…and maybe even show that not everything you think you know about snow is true.
#1: No two snowflakes are the same…NOT!
You’ve probably heard it and believed it all your life – that no two snowflakes are identical.
But in fact, that ‘truism’ is not true. And that’s a fact that has been certified by Guinness World Records. Because in 1988, a scientist for the National Center for Atmosphere Research in Colorado found two identical snowflakes, as revealed by examination by microscope.
No word on how long that scientist searched to find two identical snowflakes. Or what that search cost the scientist in terms of personal sanity!
#2: Snowflakes are white…also NOT!
Here’s another snow fact that you’re probably quite confident about: snowflakes are white.
Except it’s not true. Snowflakes are NOT white.
In fact, snowflakes are translucent, composed of colorless ice crystals. The white appearance of snow is a result of light reflected from the surface of the ice crystals, not the color of the snow itself.
#3: How many snowflakes?
How much snow falls from the sky each winter in the U.S.? A LOT! In terms of individual snowflakes, it’s estimated that around 1 septillion fall from the sky over the course of a typical winter.
How much is a septillion?
Tack 24 zeros onto a 1 and you have a septillion – a winter’s worth of snow. (Bet it feels like that’s about the amount of snow that you have to clear just from your property every winter!)
#4: The most snow in a day?
Ever wonder about the most snow to ever fall in a single day? We likely don’t know the real answer to that question, since weather records cover only a miniscule portion of history.
But in terms of recorded history, we know that 75.8 inches of snow – more than 6 feet – fell in Silver Lake, Colorado within a 24-hour period. That was in 1921, and that event currently stands as the highest recorded snowfall in a single day.
The closest runner-up was also in Colorado: Georgetown, Colorado, December 4,1913. 63 inches of snow.
#5: Snow may be cold…
But it can also serve as an excellent insulating material. That’s why homes constructed entirely of snow – igloos – can be tolerable places to live.
Snow is an excellent insulator because it consists primarily of trapped air. And that’s why body heat can build up inside an igloo to make it comfortably warm. In fact, the interior air in igloos has been known to be as much as 100 degrees warmer than outside air.
Many animals instinctually take advantage of the incredible insulting properties of snow by burrowing into deep snowbanks to stay warm.
One Final Fact…
A fresh snowfall can be astoundingly beautiful. But it’s also a pain in the you-know-what.
Because if you’re a homeowner, you have to clear it from your walkways, driveway, and porch every time it happens (unless you have snow insurance!). That’s an unpleasant and dangerous chore.
And that’s a fact!