Illustrated snow scene with trees and cabin
Baby penguins on snow

It’s Snow Joke: Unusual Facts About Winter Weather

It’s Snow Joke: Unusual Facts About Winter Weather

The year’s coldest season is almost upon us, and we’re dreaming of a white Christmas. We've got our hats, knits, shovels and hot chocolate at the ready – and some wacky winter facts, of course!

Check out these interesting truths about snow, a peculiar precipitation…

1. In a flurry

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. 


2. Well blade

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 Charles Darwin’s travel writings in 1839. Penitentes standing 5m (16ft) in height have since been recorded!

Spice snow book spread showing science of penitentes

3. Hello Snowzilla

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.

Illustration of snow woman as tall as a building

4. Monkey business

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.

Book spread showing Japanese macaques in hot springs

5. Snow vacancy

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.

Interior photograph of The Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden


To learn more about wild weather and the science of the seasons, check our our full range of Children's, Science and Nature, and Reference titles.

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