Let It Snow: Fun & Incredible Winter Facts

(Snowflake photos: NOAA)
The frigid weather we've experienced this winter—deep freezes hit not just the northern states but the Gulf Coast states, too—is enough to have anyone wishing for spring. But before the snow gives way to tree buds, here are a few cold weather fun facts:

3: Number of North American bird species that molt into white plumage each winter to blend in with snow

30: Temperature, in degrees Celsius, colder that an Arctic bird’s feet may be than the rest of its body, to prevent heat loss

2: Estimated maximum length, in inches, of a snowflake

3.4: Average speed, in miles per hour, of a falling snowflake

514: Number of avalanches reported in 15 U.S. states, from 1950 to 1997

300,000: Cubic yards of snow a large avalanche can potentially release

1,140: Inches of snowfall on Washington’s Mount Baker in 1998, the world record for a year’s snow accumulation

181: Ski resorts that endorse Sustainable Slopes, thereby committing to make their operations more eco-friendly

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