Who will ban Big Mama of snow?
IF you are not too fed up reading about the stuff when you re not slipping and sliding around on it, here are some interesting facts about snow which you may like to digest as you wait for the springtime thaw to set in. For a start, did you know that the
IF you are not too fed up reading about the stuff when you're not slipping and sliding around on it, here are some interesting facts about snow which you may like to digest as you wait for the springtime thaw to set in.
For a start, did you know that the average snowflake is made up of 180 billion molecules of water and falls at a speed of 3.1mph?
The largest recorded snowflake was a whopping 15 inches wide. Ones that size would have come in handy when the good people of Bethel in Maine, USA set out last year to build the biggest-ever snowman. It ended up 122ft 1in tall, was female and weighed an estimated 13,000,000lb. What's known as a Big Mama in that part of the world, I guess.
If the enterprise had been undertaken in this country, would the organisers have needed planning permission from the local council (and the Heritage Foundation if it was in Letchworth Garden City)?
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Perhaps not, as the bureaucrats would probably have deemed it to be a temporary structure which did not come under section 27 (sub-section 101, part C) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1946 or some such piece of legislation.
Back to the snow. Apparently, 0C is just the right temperature for producing the perfect snowball.
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Some people say it can be too cold to snow. Experts reckon that below -30C there is usually not enough moisture in the air for it to snow, but it is technically possible at any temperature - the lowest recorded has been -41C.
We think that we have had it bad this week but it is nothing compared to way back in 1695 when it snowed every day in London for five weeks and the Thames froze over.
One thing I know and you may not realise is that squirrels do not like snow.
I base this on the fact that the grey and black squirrels which regularly scamper around my garden chasing each other's tails have not been seen since Sunday afternoon when the flakes began failing.
They must be tucked up somewhere snug with their hoards of acorns because there is no evidence of their little paw prints in the blanket of snow still covering the lawn.
But there are some much larger prints which must be from that fox which I spotted loping into the front garden. The wily fellow must know that Letchworth was founded on the principle of it being a fusion of town and country.
Talking about squirrels, there was a news item the other day about the black versions being set to dominate their fellow creatures in the UK.
For 10,000 years the red squirrel was king in Britain but it all started to go wrong for them when a pair of American grey squirrels were released into the wild.
Now there are more than two million greys and just a few hundred of the meeker reds.
But black squirrel numbers are increasing and, if they are anything like the one in my back garden, are seeing off the greys.
It's survival of the fittest, Darwin would have said.