Please!!! Send us some snow to Africa

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Snow -- The Hot Mess Press

I live at the southern tip of Africa, and on average, the lowest temperature here is about 52.34° F (11.3° C). The tops of some mountain ranges within an hour or two’s drive away have snowfall for brief periods some winters. However, making snow angels, building snowmen and having snowball fights are all things we dream of enjoying one day. Having a glass of warm gluhwein helps us to pretend it’s freezing cold when it isn’t really. The only snowfall in Cape Town City where I live was recorded in 1906!!! However, the surrounding mountains make pretty pictures if you’re quick because it usually melts in the rain within hours.

Rare Sight Table Mountain with white coating
A rare sight —  Table Mountain in Cape Town with a dusting of snow

Does the fascination with snow wear off over time?

I am curious to know whether people who are used to snow each winter are as fascinated by snow as I am. On the other hand, is it perhaps nothing special after many white winters?

However, when I see quotes like, “my favorite outdoor activity is to go back inside,” “Wake me up when it’s summer,” and “if you need me, I’ll be inside until April,” it seems like the fascination has worn off? Has it?

Or is it a love-hate relationship after years of cold, white winters?

Cozy coffee fireplace

Curled up with a mug of hot chocolate/coffee/gluhwein by the fire is likely the love part. Then, when you have to be on the road is likely the hate part. My interest in snow taught me a new word. Never before have I come across graupel. My friend Google explained and described it as soft hail or hominy lookalike icy granules, also called snow pellets. I’ll share other facts that you may or may not know.

Sleet and graupel are also forms of snow

Snow graupel

Snow precipitation could be in any of those three forms, but how do they occur? Some people confuse graupel for hail, which is wrong. Graupel is particles of opaque ice that result when ice crystals in the atmosphere fall through clouds of freezing droplets. Remaining liquid although their temperature is lower than water’s freezing point, they form soft, lumpy granules.

On the other hand, millions of tiny translucent ice balls form when raindrops freeze during their fall down to earth. They fall to create sleet.

Why does not all snow appear white?

Pink Alpine landscape

Snow is actually translucent, but how the many snowflakes or ice crystals reflect some colors and absorb others makes them look white. However, as you go down to deeper snow, it may have a tint of blue. This happens because less light reaches that deep, allowing blue light to reflect. Equally interesting is the pink hue of snow in some of the high Alpine areas. That comes from a type of fresh-water algae that adds a pink tint to water that causes the snow to appear pink.

More interesting snow facts and records that you might not know

Snowball fight

Records exist even for the most participants in a snowball fight and the most snow angels made at the same time. On Jan. 12, 2013, a massive snowball fight took place in Seattle. 5834 snowball-wielding fighters participated.

Snow angel records have two categories. The first is the highest number of locations where simultaneous angel-making occurred. Nova Scotia set this record after 22,022 residents in 130 locations dropped down to make snow angels. The second category is the most people in one place to get busy waggling legs and arms to make snow angels simultaneously. Can you guess where this was? In North Dakota, 8962 people gathered to set this record in 2007.

Snow angels

Which U.S. city has never reported snowfall?

Temperatures in Key West in Florida have never dropped enough to cause snowfall. The lowest temperature ever measured in that city is 41° F, and it happened on two occasions, about 100 years apart. The first time was on Jan. 12, 1886, and then again on Jan. 13, 1981.

How many ice crystals fall from the sky across the U.S. each winter?

Do you know what to call a number that has 24 zeros? A septillion, 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, is at least the number of ice crystals.

Colorado holds two snowfall records

Snow extreme

The most snow falling in a single day occurred in 1913. On Dec. 4, Georgetown measured 63 inches of snow. The next record was for a 24-hour period.

In Silver Lake, the 24 hours between 2:30 in the afternoon of Apr. 14 until 2:30 p.m. on Apr. 15, snowfall exceeded six feet. That was in 1921, and it measured 75.8 inches.

Do you know the different types of snowstorms?


The set of specifications to meet includes winds measuring at least 35 mph and visibility dropping below 0.25 miles to qualify as a blizzard. If these conditions occur for no less than three hours, you can call it a blizzard.

In contrast, a snow squall lasts for only a short time. Snowfall is intense, and winds must be strong.

Similarly, a snow burst also lasts for a brief period during which snowfall is intense enough to cause rapid accumulation.

In conclusion, if you wonder why someone who encountered snow on only two occasions in about 50 years are so fascinated with it, no worries, you’re not alone — my husband frequently questions what goes on in my head.

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