Snow and Ice do Not Burn

It was snow, and sleet, and ice across the Southeast at the end of January, 2014, but some people said, “I saw on the Internet, the snow was burning.” What’s up with that?! Well, take a look at this. This is ice. I made it. It’s water, and as you know you can eat it. It melts. I’m not going to talk and eat it at the same time, but what people are doing across parts of the country, is they are taking ice and cigarette lighters, and they are finding that, when you put the flame under the ice, it turns black. It does sort of look like it is burning but notice also it was melting. What other people are doing, is they are using matches, for example to do the same thing and it’s actually a little bit more dramatic.

Very quickly, you see a lot of dark soot on the ice. Well, again, this is pure ice so just to make this really clear, I’m now going to use natural gas from a cooking stove, and when I use clean-burning gas you see the ice melting, but when you look at it, it’s not black. All of this tells us that there’s a big difference between a burning piece of wood, and butane, and clean gas. So this is just ice. It’s just water. Pretty interesting, though.

I’m Chief Meteorologist Alan Sealls.

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