Again, this is the time of the year when it's time to talk about the dangers of boiling water.
At least eight people were treated at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago last week for second and third degree burns attributed to unsuccessful attempts at the so-called "hot water" challenge during polar vortexing. Arthur Sanford, a surgeon with trauma and burns at Loyola, told WLS-TV that even people trying to record are not even people; A 3-year-old observer was among those who told him that they were injured. According to Sanford, seven of these cases may require "surgery because the burns are so deep."
That's why people should not try to do this for similar things – it's not new at all! Hell, we asked you not to try this in 2017. But every year, the videos of people taking part in the stunt inevitably come to YouTube and social media. When temperatures fall, people bury the pot with water, copy it outdoors and record themselves to return water to the air and watch how it changes to "snow."
What you see in these viral videos is related to evaporation and subsequent freezing of drops when hot water hits extremely cold air. Mark Seeley, a climatologist and former professor at the University of Minnesota, told Live Science in 2011:
"[C]Old air is very dense, therefore its ability to retain water vapor molecules is very low. For vapor molecules, there is only considerably less space, "explains Seeley. "So when you throw the boiling water up, the air has a minus 22 more water vapor than it has. Therefore, steam is secreted by compressing microscopic particles in the air, such as sodium or calcium, and forming crystals. This is exactly what is involved in shaping snowflakes. "
Seeley told Live Science that a "big temperature gradient" required this, and added that "in Minnesota we will not try this experiment until there is a minus 30." Also, the possibility of someone seriously hurting – or someone else! – it is obvious that this is in less favorable conditions. And as we have said before and because I will once again stress here, there are plenty of other things on the snow, such as an attempt to create a risk of injury.
Be safe out there, people.[WLS-TV]