Friday, January 28, 2011

What Do You Snow? 20 Fun Facts About the White Stuff; Impress Your Family and Friends At Dinner This Weekend

I was supposed to be in Florida today. I had imagined myself sitting poolside, sipping something cold with an umbrella in it (ok, it probably would have been a diet coke with a speared lemon) but that vision kept me going yesterday as we shoveled our 19 inches of 'mashed potato' snow (for explanation of the term see yesterday's quiz). We're now leaving tomorrow so here is one more blog post about snow, hopefully the last. It's on to the Everglades, Seminole Indians and other Floridian flora and fauna for a couple of days at least. These facts and photos are from a variety of sources.

20 Things To Know About Snow

1. Biggest Snowflake
The largest snowflake ever recorded was 15 inches wide.

2. 'Greatest Snow on earth'
Phrase on Utah’s car license plates.

3. Why the British Really Left England For the New World
In England in 1695, it snowed every day in London for 5 weeks and the River Thames froze. The snow stayed until mid-April.

4. Snow is Outta This World"
Very light snow has occurred at high latitudes on Mars.

5. 24/7
About twelve per cent of the Earth's land surface is covered in snow and ice.

6. Water, Water Everywhere....
A typical snowflake is made up of 180 billion molecules of water.

7. Fakin' It
The first artificial snowflake was made by a Japanese physicist.

8. Is the Doctor In?
People who are terrified of snow suffer from Chionophobia.

9. Snowbunny, Snowbird: Animals of Winter?
I think not. A snowbunny, usually young and female, winters in a drinking establishment near a ski slope, rarely venturing outside. Snowbird: Can be male or female, usually of a 'certain age', winters in a warm place (think Florida) Drinking may also be involved.

10. Neither Rain, Nor Hail, Nor Sleet...Which One is Which?    
Hail is a chunk or stone of ice dropped from a thunderstorm. Sleet is frozen rain. Freezing rain is liquid rain that freezes to a surface such as the road or a tree.

11. Warming Up To Snow
It does not have to be 32°F or colder for it to snow. Snow forms in the clouds where the temps dip below freezing.

12. Measuring Up
On the average, 10 inches of snow melts down to about an inch of water.

13. Snow Fatalities
About 70 percent of winter storm related deaths occur in automobiles. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow or from hypothermia account for the rest. About 50% of deaths caused by hypothermia, are to people over 60 years of age. Over 75% of these deaths are to men.

14. Snow By Any Other Name......
‘Champagne powder’, ‘corduroy’ and ‘mashed potatoes’ are used to refer to snow.

15. Winter in the Sierras? Just Say Snow!
A group of American pioneers called the Donner Party set out for California in a wagon train. Delayed by a series of unfortunate occurrences, they spent the winter of 1846–47 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada. Some of the emigrants resorted to cannibalism to survive, eating those who had died due to starvation and sickness. In what historians have called one of the most spectacular tragedies in the west,  only 48 of the original 87 members of the group survived to reach their destination.

16. Snow White Newbie
Rumor has it that Kristen Stewart may play Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman, a classic retelling of the Snow White story in which the Huntsman is an assassin sent to kill Snow White.

17. And You Think It's Bad in New York?
Mount Baker, Washington holds the record for most snow in one storm cycle in the 1998/99 season with 1140 inches recorded.

18. Movies With Great Snow Scenes
  • Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
  • The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
  • Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis)
  • White Christmas (Michael Curtiz)
  • The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
  • Fargo (Joel Coen, 1996) photo, left
  • The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Peter Hunt, 1969)
  • Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990)
  • Meet Me in St Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)
  • Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton, 1990)
  • Dr Zhivago (David Lean, 1965)
  • The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin)
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Andrew Adamson, 2005)
19. Hang On. Winter Will Almost Be Over When You See This
The hardy but delicate looking snow drop plant (a bulb) usually appears in early spring but sometimes as winter is waning.

20. My Favorite Song About Snow
The train scene from 'White Christmas' which has Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen and Danny Kaye on a train heading for Pine Tree, Vermont is a favorite in our family. Here are the words to "Snow"and a link to the scene on YouTube.

It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow
I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow

I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow
Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow

Where it's snowing
All winter through
That's where I want to be
Snowball throwing
That's what I'll do
How I'm longing to ski
Through the snow-oh-oh-oh-oh

Those glist'ning houses that seem to be built of snow
Oh, to see a mountain covered with a quilt of snow

What is Christmas with no snow
No white Christmas with no snow

I'll soon be there with snow
I'll wash my hair with snow
And with a spade of snow
I'll build a man that's made of snow
I'd love to stay up with you but I recommend a little shuteye
Go to sleep
And dream
Of snow

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