Temperatures plummet, snow falls from the sky in heaps, and ice sprawls across the land. Chestnuts roast on an open fire; Jack Frost nips at your nose. All of this must mean one thing — it’s winter.
And when winter comes so does the magic, beauty, and, often times, wrath of Mother Nature. Sometimes we can predict the power of winter, but other times, it catches us by surprise. These 20 photos show how beautiful, yet fierce, winter can truly be…
1. When it’s so cold out that any bit of exposed skin will frost over… The only way you’ll be able to defrost your eyelashes after this is with a piping hot bowl of chicken noodle soup.
2. Ever wonder what would happen when hot water meets cold air? A beautiful display of instant snow in every direction around you! The allure of this ice show is something that can only be replicated on the coldest of winter days.
Michael H. Davies / YouTube
3. How about this ice sheet that was left behind after a freezing rain event? It looks as though a ghostly replica of the truck was left in place to document a moment in time that once existed… an eerie reminder of what was once there.
4. There are fewer joys in life to a dog than rolling around in fresh powder, and this American Eskimo Dog really became one with the snow this winter. If you had only glanced at the snow patch, you just might miss that little fluff ball.
5. What kind of sorcery is this? How is it possible that a powerful cascading waterfall can become completely frozen in time? We wouldn’t mess with any magical being capable of pulling off this level of voodoo!
6. One of the coolest things about winter is that your car can apparently develop defensive spikes on its hubcaps. Even Transformers would be totally jealous of your wheels — this makes the other Autobots look far less superior.
7. Billions of snowflakes can fall from the sky in a single snow event. All of them together create a swirling picture against the purple hue of the night sky. But have you ever caught a single snowflake on your coat and looked at the intricacy of that small piece of art?
8. This man didn’t go for the standard snowman, or even an igloo — he tediously created the world’s first ever snow fruit roll-up. This was definitively more than three feet of fun!
9. This time of the year, Mother Nature thinks she’s funny and likes to play games with you. Your guess is as good as the next person as to which traffic color is lit behind its snowy hiding spot. Red Light, Green Lot doesn’t seem so fun now.
10. Winter also can be a bit odd sometimes. In the chaos of the snowstorm, cascading sculptures formed off the edge of the roof. They look as if they are defying gravity because of some magical spell they’re under!
11. Everyone knows that heavy snowfall can block roads and make them inaccessible, and this city worker put that knowledge to the test: he built a few roadblocks out of giant, muddy balls of snow.
12. It’s all fun and games until Mother Nature decides to raise the thermostat from 32°F to 33ºF. Then all of a sudden your creation goes from Frosty the Snowman to used car lot’s wacky, waving, arm-flailing, inflatable tube man.
13. Porcupines are cool and all, but have you ever had a porcu-car? The pros include: all the fun of a porcupine with none of the responsibilities. The cons include: cleaning your car off. That’s probably a pretty dangerous task.
14. These ducks are literally all of us on a cold winter morning. The second that door opens and the blistering wind smacks you in the face, you respond with a big ol’ “nope” and retreat back to your cozy bed.
15. This photo can really play mind tricks on you. What looks like the middle of a storm-struck Bearing Sea is actually a windblown, frozen street. You don’t need a boat to cross this path!
16. Snow is a great sidekick when you’re a sleuth. It’s like memory foam, holding the imprint of anything that trespasses on your property behind your back. Looks like a gang of critters scurried through here late last night. Case closed!
17. Mother Nature said, “You shall not pass,” but thankfully we have snowblowers capable of plowing through several feet of snow. So have no fear, you’ll still be able to get to work on time and clock in a full eight hours.
Susan Watts / NY Daily News
18. When this person opened their trunk, the snow just…stayed in place. They didn’t have to play a game of snowstorm roulette and wonder, will the snow fall inside the car? Will the door be frozen shut? Hopefully their luck doesn’t run out.
19. When Stanley next door refuses to shovel his sidewalk after a sidewalk, it is, for the most part, a pain in the butt. Still, his disinterest in his civic duties makes for an truly wintry picture.
20. “Go outside,” they said, “it’ll be fun,” they said. If having your hat and scarf frozen to your face while your eyeballs become completely frozen shut is your definition of fun, then you must be missing something.
Can’t get enough of these cold hard facts? Well, nothing is colder and harder than life in Antarctica. Thankfully, we can at least scratch the tip of the iceberg with these 20 facts that reveal the mysteries of life in the frozen world of the south…
1. The first Tinder match in Antarctic history was made when an American scientist logged into the app “just for fun.” Lo and behold, a profile came up just a 45-minute helicopter ride away, and she swiped right!
2. Yes, there is an ATM. Wells Fargo installed the continent’s first and only ATM back in 1998 at the McMurdo Station — the largest science center on Antarctica. It’s often out of order, and this is one line you don’t want to sit in!
3. The shifting gravitational pull caused by our drastically changing climate is very real. Scientists have confirmed the mass melting of ice in Antarctica has actually caused a noticeable dip in the gravity field in just 3 years.
4. There are two civilized towns in Antarctica, and they are both Latin American. The larger of the two is Villa Las Estrellas, a Chilean town founded in 1984. The second is Esperanza Base, which now serves as an Argentine research center.
5. Speaking of Esperanza, this homey little town is famous for more than just its extreme geo-tag. In 1978, it was the birthplace of Emilio Marcos Palma, the first person ever born in Antarctica. Since then, 10 more births have taken place on the continent.
6. About 3 TRILLION TONS of ice melted in Antarctica in the past 25 years. Scientists now believe we are currently losing 240 billion tons of ice per year, so keep it together and reduce your footprint — the world can’t afford another meltdown.
7. The continent boasts a surface area of 5,400,000 square miles, which doubles in size in the winter as ice forms around the coastline. It is twice the size of Australia and 1.5 times the size of the U.S.
8. Sure, you might have to endure some cold weather living in Antarctica, but at least you won’t ever have to worry about ants in your pants. That’s right,
Antarctica and the Arctic are the only places in the world that are not colonized by ants. Finally, a place you can picnic in peace.
9. Antarctica was a tropical continent 52 million years ago (not too long ago geologically speaking). It seems completely implausible now, but CO2 emissions can actually cause the continent to return to its former rainforest-y paradise. Imagine packing your bikini for Antarctica!
10. This land isn’t all ice and snow. Mount Erebus in Antarctica is one of the most consistently active volcanoes in the world. Erebus is home to a 1,700° lava lake that is believed to bubble and trouble several miles below the surface.
11. How low can you go? Well, if you’re in Antarctica and we’re talking about temperature, you can dip all the way down to a frigid -144°F. Chill out, this doesn’t happen too often. To achieve this degree of cold requires dry air and clear skies for several consecutive days.
12. There are seven different churches on Antarctica! So far, Christianity is the only religion to have erected churches on the continent, but there is clearly plenty of space for anyone’s faith here.
13. You won’t find any dog parks in Antarctica. In fact, dogs have been banned from the entire continent since 1994. The concern of disease being introduced to the local seal population was enough for all pups to get the eternal boot.
14. We still see you Minnesota, but give some cred’ to Antarctica for boasting over 300 secret lakes below its ice sheets. While these lakes are largely unexplored due to inaccessibility, scientists believe there are microorganisms living in these waters that no one on earth has seen yet.
15. The largest iceberg documented in Antarctica measured 183 miles long and 23 miles wide, which is bigger than the entire island of Jamaica! This mammoth chunk of ice was named B-15, but it has since broken up into smaller (but still giant) icebergs floating around the ocean.
16. Antarctica has an impressive list of world records, but a lesser-known world record is that this fine continent is home to the world’s oldest sperm. Worm sperm. Credit goes to Swedish scientists who, back in 2015, made this 50-million-year-old discovery.
17. Finding the time in Antarctica could be a challenge. That’s because there are no ordained time zones on the continent. A general rule is to use the time of whichever country is maintaining your base. Now that is a place frozen in time.
18. There is no need to worry about icebreakers here. The average thickness of an ice sheet in Antarctica is about 1 mile. Of course, this ranges throughout the continent, with some sheets getting up to 3 miles thick.
19. Antarctica is home to 70 percent of the Earth’s fresh water in addition to 90 percent of its ice. Scientists estimated if all the ice in Antarctica were to melt, sea levels around the world would rise 200 feet. That means New York and Los Angeles would be completely underwater.
20. Polar bears only live up north, in the Arctic. Even if they wanted to pack up and move south, it would be impossible for these bears to survive the tropical temperatures on their southerly migration. Additionally, there isn’t even a direct land connection for them to make the cross.