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No, it’s not hair: unusual ice formations turn up on Vancouver Island

BC Evening Weather Forecast: Jan 16
The Wednesday, January 16, 2019 evening weather forecast for Vancouver, British Columbia and the surrounding area.

A rare cold weather phenomenon called ‘hair ice’ was discovered twice Wednesday morning on Vancouver Island.

This soft looking ice structure is actually brittle to the touch.

Hair ice can form on moist dead wood during humid, cold spells in the winter.
Hair ice can form on moist dead wood during humid, cold spells in the winter. Jeff Sandford, Nanaimo
Hair ice can form on moist dead wood during humid, cold spells in the winter.
Hair ice can form on moist dead wood during humid, cold spells in the winter. Marjorie Bawtinheimer, Campbell River

It is created on dead wood where a certain type of fungus, called Exidiopsis effusa, is found.

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The fungus causes the moisture from the wood to freeze in a specific way, forming hair-like ice crystals.

This only occurs during humid, cold spells when the temperature drops just below zero Celsius.

Each hair-like ice crystal is no more than 0.02 mm in diameter.

Several other unique frost and ice formations were found around B.C. this week.

Hoar frost formed on plants in Kamloops. Photo credit John Schreurs
Hoar frost formed on plants in Kamloops. Photo credit John Schreurs John Schreurs
Window or fern frost formed on a windshield in Surrey last week.
Window or fern frost formed on a windshield in Surrey last week. Claudette & Terry Kelly