Frost flower blooms in cold temperatures

Optimum combination of weather yields the rare form of frost
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 8:55 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - There’s a shiver in these September nights in Southcentral Alaska. With the cold nights and lows dropping to the 20s around Anchorage, a rare form of frost took shape and a viewer sent in a series of photos to share.

“Frost Flowers, a very rare sighting as the weather has to be just right,” said Nina Faust. “I happened to be fortunate to see these flowers two days in a row.”

Frost Flower_Nina Faust 9-27-21
Frost Flower_Nina Faust 9-27-21

For this type of frost to form, it requires freezing temperatures, soil that is moist or wet — not frozen — and vegetation not previously frozen.

Water in the stem of the plant is drawn upward through capillary action. The water expands as it freezes, splitting the stem of the plant vertically. The water freezes as it comes into contact with the freezing air, repeating the process numerous times to form ribbons or petals of ice.

Take a moment if you see this unusual frost, because they don’t last as long as regular flowers. They are fragile and will sublimate or melt quickly.

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