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What happens when boiling water hits freezing cold air?

Like we needed a new source of snow this winter.

In a video that has garnered thousands of views, a YouTube user with the handle Viva Frei runs out into an open, snowy field and heaves what looks like a pot of boiling water into the air.

But once the water hits sky, it sprays out in all directions as an icy mist.

Viva Frei posted the video on Valentine’s Day, and reported the outside air at the time was -27 degrees Celsius (about -16 degrees Fahrenheit) while recording the video. (The user did not specify where the video was made). “Good Morning America” picked it up, posting it on the show’s Facebook account.


Before writing off the visuals as a hoax, there is a science behind it.

According to information posted by the mathematics department at the University of California, Riverside, scientists have identified the phenomenon as the Mpemba effect, where hot water can actually freeze faster than cold water under some circumstances.

Watch the video all you like. But if you live in Boston, please don’t try it yourself — it could prove dangerous (and we’ve had enough snow already).