Winter means snow for many of us, love it or hate it. When you build the perfect snowman or shovel your driveway after a snowstorm, how much thought do you actually give this magical stuff? We want to get to know snow on a deeper level so we’ve compiled a list of 10 incredibly cool facts about snow. You might be pleasantly surprised at how interesting snow actually is.
Fact #1: Snow is not white like you might think, it’s completely colorless. The white appearance we’re used to seeing occurs when air gaps between snow crystals bounce light beams around so much that the wavelengths are eventually reflected out, resulting the color white we’ve come to know and love.
Fact #2: Blizzards occur when visibility is less than a quarter mile and winds have surpassed 35 miles per hour. The storm must also last at least 3 hours. Anything less is technically considered a “snowstorm.” So next time your friend complains about the “blizzard” outside, you’ll be able to correct (and possibly annoy) them.
Fact #3: Mt Baker in the North Cascades of Washington State holds the world record for most snowfall in one year with an amazing reported snowfall of 1,140 inches during the 1998-99 snowfall season. This mount is one of the snowiest places on earth.
Fact #4: The record for the most snow angels at one time took place in Bismarck, ND, on February 17th, 2007. Two schools joined forces to create 8,962 snow angels. They even raised tens of thousands of dollars to help provide clean drinking water for an indigenous people in Ethiopia.
Fact #5: Every winter, at least one septillion snow crystals fall from the sky. That’s a ton of snow. Just in case you want to see what that looks like, it’s: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!
Fact #6: The largest snowball fight took place in Seattle at Seattle Center on January 12th, 2013. 5,834 people participated with everyone throwing at least one snowball. The fun was for a good cause, all proceeds went to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Seattle.
Fact #7: Igloos can get extremely warm. Fresh, compacted snow is about 90 to 95 percent trapped air, which makes it a great insulator. This is why many animals, like bears, dig deep holes in the snow for hibernating during the winter.
Fact #8: In 2007, a Dutch Daredevil by the name of Wim Hof ran the fastest half-marathon barefoot on snow and ice in just 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 34 seconds during a race in Finland. This feat and others have resulted in an appropriate nickname—The Iceman.
Fact #9: According to Guinness World Records, the largest snowflakes on record were 15 inches in diameter. They fell on Fort Keogh, in eastern Montana on January 28th, 1887. Nearby ranchers witnessed these abnormally large snowflakes and said they were larger than “milk pans.”
Fact #10: No two snowflakes are alike, really. People have found snowflakes in the past that are remarkably similar to one another but snowflakes are complex and finding two that are completely identical is likely impossible as temperature will greatly affect how each snowflake forms.
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