Stock up on booze and get your Netflix queue ready: Winter Storm Juno is about to hit much of the East Coast. Whether you’re looking forward to a grown-up snow day, a chance to try out that nail art you’ve been pinning, or you’re dreading all of the dramatic “Winter Is Coming” headlines, you can at least use this time you have being stuck inside to brush up on a few interesting facts about snow — some of which I'm guessing you probably didn't know. If anything, you can keep your friends entertained with your endless knowledge while you all hunker down together.
To be fair, there are definitely some things worse than winter. And there are also some things that are super awesome about winter, like getting new clothes to fill out your winter wardrobe. Winter really can be a beautiful season, but winter storms sure do seem to take the magic right out of it, don’t they? Especially when people are freaking out about the nearing Snowpocalypse, much like they did during last year's Winter Storm Hercules.
While I can't relate directly — California winters are basically extended autumns — I definitely feel for any of you about to brave the oncoming storm. And while we may joke (there is already a barrage of memes out there), winter storms are pretty dangerous — so stay safe out there, East Coast comrades!
1. Every year, one septillion snowflakes fall
That's 24 zeros, y'all, and every one of them is unique. Think about that the next time you complain about the snow.
2. Fear of snow is real, and it's called chionophobia
While chionophobia involves a general aversion to snow, the phobia is mainly centered around a fear of being trapped in snow.
3. A winter snow storm can dump around 39 million tons of snow at once
Is it just me, or is that statistic terrifying?
4. More than $2.3 billion is spent in road maintenance every year
In fact, snow- and ice- control projects account for 20 percent of states' Department of Transportation budgets.
5. Do you want to build a snowman? You should try Bethel, Maine
The largest recorded snowman, 113-foot, 7-inches, was built in Bethel, Maine in 1999.
6. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, but not the coldest
The coldest day of the year usually doesn't come until a few weeks later.
7. The most snow fallen in a 24-hour period was 76 inches
This feat is held by Silver Lake, Colorado, which recorded nearly 6.5 feet of snow in 1921.
8. No country in the Southern Hemisphere has hosted the Winter Olympics
This is probably because the Southern Hemisphere has much less snowfall.
9. Twelve percent of Earth's landmass is covered in snow and ice
This includes Antarctica and the Arctic.
10. The coldest temperature ever recorded was -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit
Vostok Station in Antarctica has held that record since 1983.
11. Snowflakes have six sides
Why? Because science.
12. Winter is a natural defense mechanism (in Russia)
The winter months in Russia are some of the harshest in the world. So harsh that both Napoleon Bonaparte and the German army on the Eastern Front during World War II were all but defeated by it. Russia has one of the coldest overall climates in the world — even their summers see near freezing temperatures.
13. Most babies are conceived in early-winter
Around 9 percent of U.S. conceptions happen in December. The holidays are merry indeed!
14. Some animals turn white in winter
The arctic fox, arctic hare, ptarmigan, barren-ground caribou, and ermine (as well as already-pale Irish girls like me) change their furs' color to white.
15. The record for most snow angels formed at one time is 8,962
School children from and around Bismarck, North Dakota formed the angels on Feb. 17, 2007.
16. The average snowflake falls at a rate of 3.1 miles per hour
You know what they say — slow and steady wins the race.