2008-01-19 00:40:57.000 – Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist
So, I will start this comment by saying thanks for everyone that left their feedback in the forums as to what to name the new cat. It seems that Marty will be the name of choice for the cat which is what we all expected and were hoping for. If you would still like to leave us feedback though, just click HERE.
Next up, lets talk snow or lack there of. I am not saying that the summit is bare rock but it is definitely on the low side of what it should look like for January. As of this writing, the summit has only received 12.8 inches of the white stuff this month which is 40 inches below what we normally average for this month. The month is over half way over and we have a lot of ground to make up if we expect to break even this month. We are certainly keeping our fingers crossed up here. But looking at the models, we may be able to help out this holiday weekend. Models are projecting our temperatures to bottom out in the 20 to 30 below 0 range by Sunday night into Monday. With temperatures this low, observers on the summit will be boiling water and making some snow once again like we have in the past years. If we do anything new with this experiment, we will definitely video tape it and post it on our Youtube page like we did last year.
But you don’t have to feel left out, because you can also make a type of “snowflake” of your own out of boiling water. So here is what you will need:
-Wide mouth jar (apple sauce, mayonnaise, etc.)
-Pipe Cleaners (3-6 will work)
-Pencil or pen
-Food coloring (optional)
Take your wide mouth jar and make sure it is clean. Next up, take your pipe cleaners and create a six-sided snowflake shape. Take a piece of string and tie it to one of the arms of the snowflake shape. Tie the other end to the pencil or pen. Test the shape you made by putting your flake in the jar. The pencil should rest across the top of the jar with the snowflake hanging freely in the jar below it. If not, reshape or trim the sides with scissors until it dangles freely. Next up, fill the jar with water until the flake is well submerged in water. Once you have measured the appropriate amount of water, pour this into a pot. Bring the water to a roaring boil (kids, make sure an adult helps you on this part of the project). Add borax or sugar or salt (borax will form crystals the fastest but sugar or salt is edible) to the water one tablespoon at a time. You should end up with a ratio of 3 tablespoon to one cup of water solution but the best method is to slowly add borax or sugar or salt until you cannot get it to dissolve anymore. Once you reach this point, you can add some food coloring for colored crystals. Next, carefully pour this supersaturated solution into the jar. Hang your flake shape in the jar of solution and let it sit undisturbed overnight. Come back in a day and you will have a flake covered in crystals. If you don’t get results immediately, give it a day or two more, sometimes it takes a bit longer to get the formation you are looking for. You can also keep it in the solution longer for a bigger flake.
Lastly, take a picture and post the results in this forum page. To post a picture, you will post a reply to the thread and post one of two ways. First, if you have it posted on another website, you can click on the picture that looks like a sun over a mountain range which is the “Insert Image” icon. The other option is to click on the paper clip shape next to the smiley face in the first row. Then browse for your image on your computer and post it. It will be fun to see the various results people get. Plus it will show that much like real flakes, no two crystal flakes will be the same.
Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist