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Turning water into snow


Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer

January 20, 2012 — When extreme cold weather hits, you can turn boiling water into snow by throwing it into the air.

The experiment works best under cold, dry conditions
The experiment works best under cold, dry conditions

This week, parts of the Prairies have been struggling with temperatures that feel like -40 and -50 with the wind chill.

Our own Natalie Thomas has been trying her best to stay warm in Calgary, Alberta. On Tuesday, she proved just how frigid temperatures are in the Stampede City by turning a cup of boiling water into snow.

There were no camera tricks involved on Natalie's end. This simple experiment that can be conducted by anyone - provided that it's cold enough.

In order for the exercise to work, you'll need a day where the temperature is hovering around -30C.

Throw a large cup of boiling water into the air, and if the conditions are right, it will transform into snow.

HOW IT WORKS

When extreme cold hits, there's very little water vapour in the air. Boiling water, on the other hand, emits a large amount of vapour - and that's why it steams. When it interacts with cold temperatures, the excess vapour crystallizes, creating instant snowflakes.

TIPS

Here are some tips to maximize the success of your homemade snowfall.

- Hot water evaporates (and freezes) faster than cold water, so the warmer the water, the faster your snow will form.

- Tossing your water high into the air will give your snowflakes more time to develop.

- This experiment is most successful on dry days. That's because dry weather increases the rate at which water droplets will evaporate.

- Because you're dealing with boiling water, make sure you aim it away from people and animals.

If you've been able to turn water into snow, send us your video - we'd love to see it.

Happy snow making!

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