Snow fall speeds, winter mortality and chionophobia

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Here are some interesting facts about the cold weather, snow and other related items.

These tidbits won’t make the last gasps of winter go away, but they might help you take your mind off the chill and the shoveling:

1) Snow falls at 1 to 6 feet per second. At least, according to the Mental Floss website, in the case of snowflakes with broad structures, which act as parachutes. Snow that falls in the form of graupel, or snow pellets, travels to Earth at a much faster rate.

2) Bulls can get frostbite. Yes, these bad boys can get a bad case of frostbite if left out too long in extreme temperatures and snow storms. The NDSU Extension Service – Bismarck website notes, “During normal winter conditions, frostbite is not a common problem with breeding bulls, but prolonged exposure to extreme cold and wind increases the likelihood of frostbite. It’s a problem producers must consider when planning for the breeding season.”

3) You can calculate your own wind chill. A specific mathematical formula is used to calculate wind chill. If you have the formula, you can do the math yourself: If T = temperature in Fahrenheit and V = wind velocity in miles per hour, then Wind Chill = 35.74 + (0.6215 x T) – (35.75 x (V^0.16)) + (0.4275 x T x (V^0.16)). Or, you could go to the National Weather Service website, plug in the temp and wind speed and let the page do the calculating for you.

4) It can be 46 degrees and still snow. So says the website ScienceBits.com. For snow to occur at temperatures above 40 degrees, the humidity has to be very low, because as snow falls, the flakes evaporate and cool. It’s rare, but it does happen.

5) Snow can be considered a mineral. According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center, snow can be classified as a mineral because it is a naturally occurring solid, inorganically formed, and has a definite chemical composition.

6) Sure, 4 to 9 inches of snow is predicted, but it could be worse. Way worse. In Silver Lake, Colorado, 75.8 inches of snow fell in a 24 hour period April 14-15, 1921. That’s the most for the continental United States. When you include Alaska, the record is 78 inches in 24 hours at Mile 47 Camp, Alaska, February 7, 1963.

7) Do you suffer from Chionophobia? If so, then you have an intense dislike of or persistent fear of snow. According to PhobiaSource.com, the specific force driving this phobia is a fear of getting trapped in snow.

8) Winter colds kill twice as many people in the U.S. than summer heat. That’s according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). During the four-year period 2006-2010, about 2,000 deaths were attributed to the weather. Of these, 63 percent were attributed to exposure to excessive natural cold, hypothermia or both, while about 31 percent were attributed to exposure to excessive natural heat, heat stroke, sunstroke or all. You can read an article on this here.

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