Sunday Story: Does hot water freeze faster than cold water?

We were very fortunate when it came to severe storms last night. That could have been a lot worse. Just don’t forget those who weren’t so fortunate, and who are cleaning up lots of debris today. At least one family is mourning the lost of their loved one in Columbus, Mississippi.

We can’t make light of our ongoing flooding situation. We also can’t make light of these gusty north winds that I’ve been warning you about. It won’t take much to topple some of these trees and we are still facing the risk of power outages.

But, at least we have drier weather today! And that sun won’t look half bad, too. We’re looking dry through at least Tuesday. The winds will be subsiding by Sunday night.

And now for the Sunday story!

This is one of those things I get asked about every once in a while. It’s an intriguing question and one I attempt to answer in today’s Sunday Story! I hope you enjoy.

Does Hot Water Freeze Faster Than Cold Water

There is no shortage of myths when it comes to weather. You’ve probably heard your fair share!

One myth I hear quite often is that hot water freezes faster than cold water. This is probably one of the more popular myths of our time.

This myth, like most, originates from a misunderstanding. Hot water cools faster than cold water, but the freezing part is a different story.

Let’s say you have a bowl of hot water in one hand that is 200 degrees (better use a potholder!). In the other hand you have a bowl of cold water that is 40 degrees. If you set both outside on a 20-degree night, the temperature of the 200-degree water is going to cool very quickly!

Meanwhile, the water in the 40-degree pot is going to lose heat much more slowly and gradually fall toward the freezing temperature of 32 degrees.

The interesting thing is that the temperature in the 200-degree water will very quickly close in on the colder water’s temperature, but it will not reach the freezing temperature before the cold water does. The hot water simply lost heat quicker, but it won’t freeze quicker.

Interestingly, water is one of the only substances on earth that floats when it becomes frozen. Most substance become more dense and sink. If water had that quality aquatic life would have no way of surviving icy waters, as life would be crushed by sinking ice.

If you hear a myth don’t be afraid to test it. Just don’t repeat my mistake of testing the “hot water freezes first” on porch steps. As a kid, I put cold water on one side and hot water on the other side or our porch steps.Then, I forgot about the experiment and I forgot to tell dad.

I’m still apologizing for that one.

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