It’s winter time and nothing seems to drive you away from the comfort of your home.
Well, except for a winter trip near the North Pole where you can gaze at the auroras. Or maybe a day hiking through the snow-filled, immaculate landscape.
As you are doing what you enjoy most, I thought of feeding your curiosity about winter a little.
This season is clearly worth a few extra details, so I invite you to have a look at the fun and interesting facts below.
- Sorry to break it to you, but snow isn’t really white
Yes, snow is actually clear and transparent, not white. Ice crystals are what the snowflakes are made of, and when light passes through them, it reflects back to our eyesight, giving the impression of white color.
This makes the White Christmas metaphor inaccurate, although it sounds much better than Crystalline Christmas.
- The U.S. gets exponentially more snow as years progress
The annual average number of snow storms in the U.S. is 105, and this trend has remained about the same for decades.
However, the number of blizzards to hit the U.S. has more than doubled in the last 20 years, reaching from an average of 9 between 1960 and 1994 to 19 each year. And the trend is increasing.
Researchers have put this on behalf of low sunspot activity. If so, I don’t want to think at how winter will look like in the following decade as the Sun is stepping into its solar minimum period.
- A snowstorm is not the same thing as a blizzard
Just to clear this out, although blizzard already sounds more threatening than a snowstorm, these two are not the same.
There is a considerable difference in wind speed, visibility, and amount of snow being delivered by the two phenomena.
The National Weather Service outlines this difference by explaining that blizzards carry robust amounts of snow on winds topping 35 miles an hour, and visibility is below a quarter mile.
- Italy is among snow’s favorite destinations
Not only humans enjoy going to Italy. In fact, snow loves it so much out there that it left a mark in the record book.
In a single day, the accumulation of snow exceeded 100 inches, and made the town of Capracotta in southern Italy one with the landscape in just 18 hours.
- Snowflakes have six sides, no exceptions
And science explains why: the water molecules that form the snowflakes bind in a particular way that always results in six-facet ice crystals.
So, if you ever see snowflake ornaments with eight or five sides, do nature some justice and don’t purchase them.
- Identical snowflakes do exist
You might be thinking how diverse snowflakes are when looked at through a microscope. The level of details is just astonishing, and there seems to be none precisely like the other.
However, in 1988, Nancy Knight, a researcher at the National Center for Atmosphere Research in Colorado, had set a precedent when she discovered two identical snowflakes that came from a Wisconsin snowstorm.
Of course, this only implies that many identical snowflakes exist in nature. So, you might want to think twice whenever you want to tell your significant other that he/she is unique like a snowflake.
- Snow was once outlawed in the U.S.
Of course, that didn’t stop snowflakes from defying the law.
During the 1991-1992 winter season, over 160 inches of snow fell onto the city of Syracuse, New York.
Citizens were enraged because this massive snowfall was jeopardizing their businesses and daily lives, so the Council took action and vilified snow through a decree “on behalf of its snow-weary citizens.”
Even without the express accord of authorities, snow persisted falling over the city after only 2 days from the decree, and subsequent year saw even more of them. Almost as if winter was doing this on purpose.
- Some people are really afraid of snow
Not kidding. The name coined for snow fear is Chionophobia, and it affects quite a few people throughout the world.
- Snowflakes come in different sizes, even frisbee-like sizes
People have long claimed to see huge snowflakes falling from the sky. Ball-sized, plate-sized, there’s no shortage of wild claims out there.
While these claims might seem far-fetched for some, there’s actually a historical-sized snowflake recorded in January, 1887, that fell in Fort Keogh, Montana. It had a 15-inch diameter and 8-inch thickness, just like a frisbee.
While these fun notions won’t make you a better survivalist, they will surely put a smile on your face.
I believe this is vital during this long hibernation period.