So, how cold was it in Maine on Thursday morning?

How about, it was so cold that a cup of boiling water thrown into the air was instantly transformed into frozen water crystals that fell like snow.

No joke.

If you haven’t seen the phenomenon before, check out the above video provided by Bangor Daily News Outdoors contributor Christi Holmes.

It was minus 12 degrees Fahrenheit at Holmes’ home in Gray on Thursday morning and she set out to document the shocking demonstration.

Sure enough, a cup of nearly boiling water thrown into the frigid air created a cloud of frozen precipitation.

National Geographic explained to Time that the phenomenon is the result of how close boiling water already is to evaporating.

“Because they’re so hot, those tiny water droplets start to vaporize,” the magazine said. “But since cold air can’t hold as much water vapor as warmer air, the water condenses. Extremely cold temperatures quickly freeze the water droplets, which fall as ice crystals.”

There are other examples of how extreme cold affects objects. Friend Tim Lander of Eddington was explaining once how cold it got during the winter at his camp at Lac Barbel, Quebec.

When it’s pushing 30 or 40 degrees below zero, a gallon milk jug thrown against a hard object shatters as though it were made of glass.

That’s a level of cold I’m not sure that I want to experience.


Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...