The year’s coldest season is almost upon us, and we’re armed with hats, knits, shovels, and hot chocolate – and some wacky winter facts, of course!
Check out these interesting truths about snow, a peculiar precipitation…
Ever caught yourself staring at the flakes in a storm? These frozen friends are falling at an average top speed of 1.7m (5.6ft) per second. It’s not quite lightning fast, but it’s not too shabby.
Sometimes snow just has a point to make. In mountain ranges where the air is dry, such as Cerro Mercedario in Argentina, piles of snow can develop into penitentes – tall ice blades. They were first mentioned in British naturalist Charles Darwin’s travel writings in 1839. Penitentes standing 5m (16ft) in height have since been recorded!
The world’s largest snowman was a snow woman. Built in Maine in 2008, she stood 37m (122ft) in height – about the same as a 12-storey building. She had trees for arms, and skis for eyelashes.
Snow’s so important, it’s even got its own monkeys! Japanese macaques – also called snow monkeys – have several types of behaviours that are very similar to humans. Many take a dip in hot springs to keep themselves warm in cold weather, and they can even develop different accents depending on where they live.
Catch a chill easily? Don’t stay here. The Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, is one of the coolest places on Earth. About 200km (124 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, the entire building is made of snow and ice, and lasts over the freezing winter months only. It’s redesigned and rebuilt each year using blocks of ice from the nearby River Torne and thousands of tonnes of snow.