The chaos and tragedy that has been caused by winter storm Uri have unfortunately not stopped conspiracy theorists from spreading bizarre and malicious claims around the internet. The latest is that the snow is actually fake.
At least 47 people are said to have died as a result of the storm, including an 11-year-old boy who is suspected of having passed away from hypothermia. Power outages and blackouts rocked the state last week, as it appeared to be woefully unprepared for the severe winter weather, with the states’ Republican leaders receiving much of the blame.
However, conspiracy theorists have found a reason to blame president Joe Biden for the chaos, who has apparently created fake snow that doesn’t even melt when exposed to flames.
Several videos have been shared on Facebook, TikTok and Twitter of people attempting to burn the snow with lighters but the snow supposedly remaining firmly intact.
Another video shows a man putting a pan full of snow into his oven and suggesting none of it melted. In one particular video shared by conspiracy theory debunker Travis View, a woman blames the non-melting snow on the government and Bill Gates.
Having a fun evening by swearing at Bill Gates while playing with a lighter and a ball of ice in the kitchen. https://t.co/CDa0qkEQEH— Travis View (@Travis View) 1613885748
Another video shows the same woman put a jug full of snow, which she thinks has ‘metal’ in it, into a microwave.
“snow” lmao hell yes https://t.co/KPpOC9RYpU— beer rat (@beer rat) 1613888452
Facebook has already flagged many of these videos for featuring misleading information but according to Insider, Google search terms such as ‘fake snow’ and ‘bill gates sun’ were trending last week.
A theory has emerged that Bill Gates is somehow trying to “block out the sun”, seemingly as a result of him funding research in the fight to reverse climate change.
Another Facebook post, this time from conspiracy theorist Scott L. Biddle, blamed the storm on Biden and his ‘Dark Winter statement’ before adding that the snow was “warfare, an attack on Texas by altering the jet stream, seeding the clouds, and ultimately causing the storm that blacked out over 4 million people.” The post was also flagged as false by Facebook.
While we can rest assured that governments aren’t creating fake snow in some sort of attempt to punish us further, you may ask why the snow wasn’t melting in any of those videos? The simple answer is science.
As USA Today reports, it’s down to a process called ‘sublimation.’ Videos of people attempting to burn snow reportedly began appearing online in 2014.
At the time, WTVR News meteorologist Mike Stone explained it as: “When you heat something like this, it goes from a solid to a gas. It’s called sublimation. This is actually disappearing by going into vapour.”
In addition, Dr Tandy Grubbs, professor and chair of the department of chemistry and biochemistry at Stetson University, told USA Today that the people who had attempted to melt the snow with lighters simply hadn’t held the flame under the snow for long enough. He also explained in an email that the black parts that were forming under the snowball were actually soot.
He wrote, “Soot would ordinarily not be visible when a lighter is burning in the open air, but the snowball, in this case, is acting as a filter, catching and accumulating the black soot particles, which show up quite visibly on the white snow after a few seconds of exposure.”
So there you go. The snow isn’t fake and if you try and prove it is with your lighter then all you are doing is conducting an amateur science experiment.
More: Beyoncé is giving back to Texas following the winter storm