Boiling Snow — What Winter Looks Like

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts this week is for us to show off what winter looks like in our neck of the woods.  This week, thanks to a disgusting thing called a ‘polar vortex,’ winter in my neck of the woods feels wretched.  It looks …. slick.

The roads are shiny, glossy, and slippery.  So are the sidewalks.  So is the playground at my school.  Indoor recesses three days straight, anyone?  Winter in my pocket of Southern Ontario can vary completely, depending on the year.  Last year was very mild, and we had above freezing temperatures well into December.  This year, we’ve had snow since November and it hasn’t gone away.  That’s unusual, and I’m ok with that.

This polar vortex thing, though… it’s insane.  It’s apparently this crazy mass of air from the arctic that has moved in and settled for a few days.  Just a few though.  It was 0 Celsius on Saturday… and early this morning it dipped to a record setting -24 feels like -40.  Now, fun fact:  those numbers are both in Celsius, but at -40 it doesn’t matter anymore.  Celsius and Fahrenheit meet.  They split back up at that point, but -40 is -40 any way you look at it.  I have one thing to say: Go home, Arctic, you’re drunk.

The ridiculous thing about this image is, I live in the light blue, not that giant dark blue chunk of foreboding arctic absurdity.

It’s the kind of cold that makes you numb in minutes.  It’s the kind of cold that buries its way in through whatever you’re wearing and makes itself at home.  It’s the kind of cold that makes salt refuse to melt ice, resulting in the skating rinks that are the roads.  It’s the kind of cold that makes my dog not want to stay outside long enough to go to the bathroom.  It’s the kind of cold that sends frost quakes coursing through the ground, making houses and decks creak and groan.  It’s the kind of cold that made the CD Player in my car refuse to play CDs.  And it’s the kind of cold that makes the sap crackle and snap inside the maple trees as it freezes and expands beneath the bark.

It’s cold.

But this post is not to complain about the cold.  It’s actually kind of neat.  I mean, I don’t like the cold, but that doesn’t mean I wrote a blog post to whine about it.  And that being said, I do realize that many parts of Canada, Europe, and Russia all get this type of bone-chilling cold on a regular basis, all winter long.  I get it.  But it’s atypical here.

But since this is an atypical winter, and since normally winter here really isn’t anything to write home about, there have been some creative folks out there doing creative things.

I’m sure some of you have seen the videos floating around of people tossing cups/pots/bowls full of boiling water into the frigid wind and watching it turn to snow and blow away.  I didn’t believe it’d work at first.  To be truthful, I don’t really understand the science behind it….. but I wanted to try it.  Mostly, I wanted to call the Internet’s bluff….

But I failed at that.

I took a pot of boiling water outside after work today, knowing I may never see temperatures this cold again… or at least not for a really long time (it’s supposed to be back to +3 by Saturday… and I’m totally ok with that).  I took that pot of boiling water outside, and I whipped it into the air.  It turned to snow instantly, and while I still don’t really get it, I’m pleased that I’ll have a story to tell my kids one day.  “When I was 29, it got SO COLD outside, that a whole bunch of us took pots of boiling water outside, whipped them into the air, watched the water turn to snow instantly… and then uploaded the videos to YouTube.”

WARNING:  You MUST throw the water into the wind, and stand so it blows away from you.  Otherwise, the water could still be hot and I’ve seen lots of reports of people getting burned trying this.  Common sense appears to not be all that common.

I’m gonna be that Mom/Grandma… the one that still talks about YouTube, even though by then the kids will likely be able to send videos to each other with their brains.

And that’s what winter is like here, right now.  This is more of a sound description than anything, I suppose… but… it is what it is!

2 thoughts on “Boiling Snow — What Winter Looks Like

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