It’s Cold Enough to Make Our Own Snow!

Guest Post By Michelle Mather

Yesterday I showed Cam a video that a friend of mine had posted on Facebook. It showed a woman standing outside on a snowy day with a kettle and a glass measuring cup. She was pouring boiling water into the cup and throwing it into the air. The boiling water instantly turned into vapour in the cold air.

We have a weather station in the house that has a remote outdoor sensor. It’s a pretty neat gadget that Cam gave to me for Christmas one year (he doesn’t always resort to “certificates.”) This weather station not only shows us the temperature (both inside and outside) but keeps track of the highs and the lows, tells us the pressure and the humidity and also predicts the weather to come. My only criticism of it is that it will only register as low as -29.9°C (about -22°F). If the temperature drops below that level it registers as “OFL.” I have no idea what “OFL” stands for, so I just say that it means it’s “awful cold outside!”

Almost every year since we’ve owned this weather station, we’ve had at least a few days when the temperature outside hit the “awful” stage. Last winter it never did get that cold. I didn’t complain. This year I made the mistake of commenting to Cam that we hadn’t seen the “OFL” reading yet. I was wishing that I hadn’t said anything when a few days later the temperature plummeted.

Last night before we went to bed the weather station was reporting the outdoor temperature as “OFL.” It was still “OFL” this morning when we got up and so Cam decided it was an excellent opportunity to re-enact the video we’d watched yesterday.

So he gathered up the kettle of boiling water from the woodstove and a glass measuring cup and I gathered up the video camera and the still camera too. We headed outside and wow… it was cold! We didn’t waste any time and as Cam began throwing cupfuls of boiling water up in to the frigid air, I captured it all on film.

Here are some photos of our fun.  The video that we captured (a little earlier this morning) is here;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGExuW0t_Yo

You can see that as he was tossing cupfuls of boiling water up in to the air, it looked almost like fireworks… white fireworks. There was even a whooshing sound!

3 Responses to “It’s Cold Enough to Make Our Own Snow!”

  • Candee:

    Most cool (no pun intended).Amazing how it sounds like a small model rocket launch as well. Looks like great fun. Will have to try it here at a mere -11 degrees

  • Heidi:

    WOW!

    Very cool videos!

    (Awesome job of multitasking too, Michelle.)

    Who needs the Tamworth Canada Day Fireworks now ???

  • Donna:

    My kids and I were pretty impressed with your experiment. I wish I had known about this when I lived in Cold Lake (northern AB) where -30 was pretty normal.

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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