Tag Archives: snow

a snow hurricane

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This post may seem contrived given the content versus the current news event of Hurricane Sandy combining with a cold front to bring potentially unprecedented devastation, but I assure you this was written a couple of weeks ago.  It’s ironic because we discussed a snow hurricane, but considered it just rambling because that’s impossible, right?  Hurricanes require warmth to survive, yet this one may produce wintry precipitation with this “100-year-storm” / nor’easter / frankenstorm.  Anyway, enough with the irony… let’s get to the rambling.

Recently we had discussed how to prevent hurricanes, and one of our regular readers had the idea of using some of our existing technology that we’ve already invented.  His suggestion was to use our snow machine to create snow in the Sahara Desert.  (Yes, we have built a snow machine from scratch.  Follow the link if this is news to you.)  Based on just those parameters, it sounds like a win-win scenario, but there’s a flaw in the slaw.  However, I am getting ahead of myself.  Let me first explain his idea.

Of course we’d have to scale up our snow making machine many times, but this can be done given enough funds.  But as you might have already surmised, such an idea has a few logistical issues.  Making snow requires water, which is typically scarce in a desert.  (Yeah, yeah, that goes without saying — it’s a desert.  Duh!)

So this “solution” might be impossible.  But for a moment, let’s imagine the possibilities.  Given enough snow injected into the hurricane-forming cycle, could it create a snow hurricane?  (A snowicane?  A hurrisnow?  We’ll have to work on the name.)  But imagine a snowstorm in the form of a hurricane that comes to the southern U.S. and dumps snow everywhere… that would be awesome!  (For those of you not familiar with the southern U.S., it rarely snows here.  It’s a BIG DEAL when we get accumulation on the ground — schools cancel (sometimes even at the mere forecast of snow), businesses close, and people play in the snow and make snow ice cream.  Here in Arkansas, we rarely get more than a couple inches a year.)  Although, besides the awesomeness of it, there would be collateral damages, and then we’d be working on a way to stop it, so perhaps we aren’t really fixing the problem with this “solution”.  But personally, I’d rather have several inches of snow than several inches of rain, so I’m all for it.

Perhaps we should apply science here instead of just rambling.  (What an idea!)  Hurricanes may start with dry desert air, but they have to accumulate moisture at some point.  If we could make that moisture cold enough and somehow get it to stay cold… well, this might be impossible as well.

This idea will require a professional-grade think tank.  Fortunately, the Buffet o’ Blog R&D (Research & Development) team is qualified for such a task.  What we’ll need is (can you guess?): a lot of money.  Now, I know, you’re thinking it doesn’t take money to think, and there’s some truthiness to that.  But a hurricane-scale snow maker isn’t gonna build itself, plus there are numerous logistical impossibilities to overcome, and we’d need time away from our jobs to accomplish this mission.  So if you want a hurricane made of snow, you’re gonna have to send us money.  There’s simply no other way.  Again, we can print off some official certificates saying you’re awesome for contributing to this world-changing project, and you’ll feel warm and toasty inside (except when you’re out playing in the snow).

If you have money but doubt our plan, we could draw up some diagrams and flow charts to send to you in exchange for funding.  🙂  We could also meet to discuss this over good pizza…  (Our R&D department usually meet while eating… we’ve found it’s good for morale and having good ideas.)

boiling water, freezing air, & thundersnow

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If you take boiling water and toss it into the air when it’s -22 degrees outside, it evaporates into steam before it hits the ground.  Here’s a video of it.  Looks neat. At first it looks like it’s instantly turning into snow, but it’s in fact steam.

I remember hearing that hot water can actually freeze faster than cold water.  Turns out that’s only sometimes true — according to science, water at 100 degrees C will freeze before water warmer than 60 degrees C but not before water cooler than 60 degrees C.  Although if you put hot water and cold water in the freezer at the same time, the hot water can freeze faster because the bottom part of the hot water can start freezing while the top is still warm (and no convection is occurring).  Further explanation is beyond the scope of this article, but you can read more here if you’re feeling particularly nerdy today.  (It’s actually called the Mpemba effect.)

Also on the page right now is a video of Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel getting surprised by “thundersnow“.  It’s basically just thunder and lightning, but it’s more rare in a snowstorm.  His reaction is interesting, which is why this video has been making the rounds on TV.

caption contest, kids piling snow up to school door

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Our weekly caption contest is running late, and I blame the snow.  (We never lost power or Internet connectivity, but extra time was spent playing in the snow.)   Since we just had a massive snowstorm / blizzard in the South, I figured a snow-themed caption contest is in order.  So here ya go.  You can write a caption from the point-of-view of the students, the teachers, onlookers, or just make a random joke or observation about it.  Anything is okay, as long as it is clean and funny.

(To see our other caption contests, click on the “Say What?” category in the sidebar.)

it might snow — gotta buy milk & bread!

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The weather here in Arkansas can be so random… yesterday I was outside playing tennis because it was 62 degrees, and tomorrow we’re expecting from 2 to 8 inches of snow.  For those of you from the north, that amount of snow probably means nothing.  But here, where it snows maybe once or twice a year, it’s a big deal.  It’s been all over the news.  And there was even a segment on the news dedicated to people buying all the milk and bread because snow was mentioned in the weather forecast.

According to the news program, some people rush out to buy milk and bread before potential snow not because of the snow, but because other people will be buying milk and bread because of the snow.  So who started that cycle?  It’s not like we ever have more than a couple days of wintry weather, and it’s not like you can’t eat if you run out of milk and bread for a day or two.  So why is it such a big deal?

I wonder if that happens anywhere else but the South.  If there’s any readers north of here, do you experience anything like that?  I’d guess not, because road crews clear the roads quickly.  Here, if snow sticks to the road, the town shuts down.  People start leaving work when they see snow falling.  When I used to work for a large IT corporation, I worked with clients in Chicago and New York City, and they would be shocked that people couldn’t get into work for two inches of snow.  But that’s how it is.  The roads don’t get cleared quickly, and there is little to no public transportation, and there’s often some amount of ice, whether initially or the next day.  That may seem weird, the town closing down, but I kinda like it.

Hopefully we’ll get a LOT of snow so I can build giant snow creations (like a snow castle).  And of course, a day or two off work is nice…  🙂

snowboard basketball

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I heard about this new idea for a sport — it combines snowboarding with basketball.  It may not sound compatible, but watch the video.  Perhaps this should be a new Winter Olympics sport.  It sure looks like fun.

If that doesn’t work, how about taking it a step further — people having snowball fights while snowboarding inside an arena like that where there will be plenty of tricks?

snow in the South

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It’s great to live in the South… for numerous reasons, but on my mind now is how we don’t take snow for granted.   A few days ago, we got about 5 inches of snow here in central Arkansas, and there are still things shut down.  There’s a lack of equipment for clearing roads and bridges, and we often see some degree of ice with these winter storms that produce snow.   The first night of the snow, I saw a local news program that was listing closings on the screen, and one said “City of Conway closed”.  🙂  I’m sure that was meant for the local government, but it was very accurate nonetheless.

I didn’t get to build my (long dreamed of) ginormous snow castle nor Snowzilla, but hopefully there will be other opportunities.  I did get to build a snowman, though, and he’s one tough snowdude.  He has his arms bowed up at his side, ready to fight, and he has a mohawk.  He could definitely beat up your snowman.

On a related note, I had some of the Buffet o’ Blog staff to my house last night, and upon leaving, one of them decided to make buttprints in the snow in my front yard.  Lots of buttprints.  I didn’t take a picture, but you can just imagine… (Yet stranger things have happened…)

our exclusive snow

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Last night I had the Buffet o’ Blog staff over to my house, and as always, it was a great time.  Just the sheer amount of awesome in one place is enough to make some people jealous that they weren’t invited.  But we did something that may cause additional feelings of jealousy: We made it snow.  (Yeah, you read that right.)  One of the guys built a snow making machine.  The outside temperature was right at freezing when we started it, but it cooled down enough that we had some accumulation.

I realize we have some readers in other locations, even as far north as Canada, so getting snow may seem ho-hum to you, but here in Arkansas, we haven’t got a real snowfall yet this year — just some ice and sleet.  So this is a big deal.  This is exclusive snow.  And it’s homemade.

man-made snow

Now, don’t be mad or jealous.  I realize you might be tempted to feel that way, because no one else in this area got any snow.  You may be thinking, “What makes you so special, to get snow?”  Well, it’s because we are special.  And we built the snow machine.  🙂

There’s still some in the front yard, even though it has warmed up quite a bit today.   I wonder what the neighbors thought when they saw it…