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Ice and snow do the strangest things (VIDEOS)

Our encounter with the polar vortex this week has motivated ice and snow to do some weird things and people to do some weird things with ice and snow.

Check out the matrix-like grouping of ice boulders in Glen Arbor, Michigan along the shores of Lake Michigan on January 7:

(Wave action helps to form these boulders, as ice sheets driven into the shore break into shards that are then smoothed and curved.)

Watch meteorologist Eric Holthaus loft boiling water into the air and the near instantaneous conversion to ice in Viroqua, Wisconsin where it was -21 degrees on January 6.

Related: How Can Boiling Water Turn into Snow?

Caution – doing this incorrectly or clumsily is a burn hazard. Link: A Whole Bunch Of People Threw Boiling Water In The Air To Watch It Freeze And Burned Themselves, from BuzzFeed

. . .

In past freezing and thawing events, we’ve shared some other remarkable behavior of ice.

Remember the ice avalanches that damaged homes in Minnesota last spring, as lake ice was breaking apart and being driven ashore by winds?

And, in case you missed it, see this incredible ice circle that formed on the Sheyenne River in North Dakota in November:

“Allen Schlag, a National Weather Service hydrologist in Bismarck, and Greg Gust, a weather service meteorologist in Grand Forks, said a combination of cold, dense air [in previous days] and an eddy in the river likely caused the disk,” wrote the Associated Press.

It’s not just ice, but also snow that can act freakishly -especially when blown by wind in open fields. That’s the recipe for snow rollers.

Snow rollers from Idaho panhandle in 2009 (Tim Tevebaugh via National Weather Service)

See this related article and photos from a snow roller outbreak in Vermont last January: Mother Nature puts a new twist on Vt. snow (

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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Kevin Ambrose · January 9, 2014

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