Mistletoe isn't just a decoration to inspire kisses. It is a real plant that gives food, shelter, and nesting places for many birds, butterflies, and mammals. Mistletoe grows on the branches of trees and shrubs. In fact, the American mistletoe's scientific name,
Phoradendron, means "thief of the tree" in Greek. When its seed lands on a tree, the mistletoe sends out roots into the tree that steal some of the tree's nutrients. It doesn't kill the tree, though. The mistletoe's berries are food for many birds, such as doves, bluebirds,
You probably already know that no two snowflakes are alike. But did you know that scientists think there are five different shapes of snow crystals? What shape a snowflake is depends on what the temperature was when the snowflake was formed. The five shapes, in order from the coldest to the warmest, are:
Temperature also determines the size of snowflakes. The colder it is outside, the smaller the snowflakes. Most snowflakes are less than one-half inch across. The largest snowflake ever recorded was 15 inches across.
Polar Day and Polar Night
At the North Pole the sun
starts rising around March 21 and doesn't start setting
until around September 21. This very long cycle of daytime in the artic is caused
by the tilt of the earth's axis as the earth orbits the sun.
The Polar Night is when it is dark 24 hours a day. This happens
every winter when the sun does not rise above the horizon.
During the summer the opposite happens, the sun stays above the
horizon 24 hours a day. This is called the Polar Day. Sometimes
it is called the Midnight Sun.
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Important Winter Weather Terms:
Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures
may be coming soon.
Winter Weather Advisory: Cold temperatures, frost and/or snow are
Winter Storm Watch: A big winter storm could
develop in your area sometime soon.
Winter Storm Warning: A strong winter storm has
started or will start very soon.
Blizzard Warning: Lots of snow with strong winds.
The very cold temperatures and blowing snow can make it
dangerous to be outside.
Snow Flurries: Light snow falling off and on. The
snow probably will not stay on the ground.
Snow Showers: Light to heavy snow falling off and
on. Some build up of snow on the ground is possible.
Freezing rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the
ground. Freezing rain can coat streets and sidewalks with
Sleet: Rain that freezes in to small ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet
can also coat streets and sidewalks with ice making them