Degrees of Precipitation
Question: Can the temperature actually get too cold for snow?
AnswerMan: A flaky question. This is a belief commonly
held by snow-hating shovel people everywhere, a conviction to which they
pitifully cling right up until they are buried in a six-foot snow drift. In
truth, it can get too cold for snow. Scientists tell us that when the
thermometer hits -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit, a state commonly known as
"absolute zero," all molecular motion theoretically ceases. Thus, the
possibility of measurable snowfall becomes virtually nil. Unfortunately, organic
life comes to an end long before this temperature is reached, which greatly
reduces the likelihood of prolonged celebration of snowless conditions. Note,
however, that weather conditions can also become too warm for snow, which
generally occurs slightly above a more hospitable 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Getting Your Feet Wet
Q: I have been wondering for years how the early
settlers crossed the giant rivers like the Mississippi or the Arkansas.
How in the world did they get across with all of their wagons and supplies?
A: A question in wading. The first settlers who
reached the Mississippi did, indeed, face quite a challenge in getting
themselves, their wagons and livestock to the other side without heavy
losses to the deep and swift waters. Their prayers were answered
when, out on the northern horizon, they spied two giant figures
approaching. In minutes, none other than Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox,
who were scouting south for new stands of timber, had joined the settlers
on the east river bank. Seeing their dilemma, Paul directed the pioneers
to unhitch their horses and began wading across the river with a wagon in
either hand on each crossing. Once he had all the wagons on the far side,
it was Babe's turn to help. Even the mighty Mississippi current proved no
match for Babe, whose body formed a solid bridge from shore to shore. His
tail was a perfect ramp from the east bank, while his horns provided
double exits on the west end. The horses were led across the big blue
bridge single-file, re-hitched to the wagons, and the grateful settlers
continued their journey.
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