A meteorologist who spends her days chasing tornadoes had revealed why you should never lick or eat icicles – after a dangerous social media trend sees people munching on this frozen ‘treat’.
Katie Nickolau, 24, from Iowa, recently uploaded a video on her TikTok account sharing the shocking news of people ingesting icicles, believing that it’s a bit of harmless fun.
But what they are actually eating is not just ice, but bird poo – among other harmful particles such as rubber, iron and tar.
Warning: Meteorologist Katie Nickolau has issued a stark warning about why you should never lick or eat icicles
Oh dear: According to the 24-year-old, who is from Iowa, the water that forms the icicles often contains all manner of horrible particles, including rubber, tar, iron, and even bird poop
In the clip, Katie explains that icicles form from water that has melted off the roof and run down the side of the building, meaning it has collected many other things along the way, including animal feces.
‘When icicles form it’s from water that melts off of your roof and runs down the side of a building,’ she can be heard saying in the video.
‘Well here’s the thing, you know what else is on your roof?
‘Bird poop, a lot of it. And that water picks it up and freezes it in the ice. You’re eating poop.’
Speaking to Jam Press, Katie, who works at Siouxland News At Sunrise, added: ‘I’ve been seeing videos circulating on social media of people eating icicles.
‘I always love telling people weather facts and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to spread some funny, geeky knowledge.
‘Icicles look clean and clear to the human eye, but if you put them under a microscope you’ll likely see more than just water.’
Mixed in with all of the air in our atmosphere are also microscopic pieces of carbon, dust, salt and other particles.
‘Don’t do that!’ In a viral video posted to TikTok, Katie insisted that when you eat icicles, you are effectively ‘eating poop’
Prompt: The meteorologist, who works for Siouxland News At Sunrise, explained that she felt compelled to make the clip after seeing videos of TikTokers eating and licking icicles
Details: ‘Icicles look clean and clear to the human eye, but if you put them under a microscope you’ll likely see more than just water,’ Katie explained
Katie said: ‘Water vapor in the atmosphere condenses around these particles, forming water droplets that eventually fall to the ground as rain or snow.
‘When the snow melts, it runs down the roof, picking up additional pollutants like rubber, iron, tar and organic material.
‘When the icicles form, those particles get trapped in the ice. Even though these are microscopic particles, it often makes people think twice about eating icicles when they hear what’s trapped inside of them.’
Katie has always been scared of germs and never eaten an icicle herself, but does occasionally enjoy sticking her tongue out to catch a snowflake or two.
The meteorologist is fascinated by snowflakes, particularly by ‘snow needles’.
She said: ‘It can literally snow ‘needles’. There is a type of snowflake structure that is referred to as needle snow because it resembles small needles.
‘Don’t worry, they can’t hurt you. They are very fragile and melt almost instantaneously when they land on your skin.
‘There are 35 different structures that snowflakes can have and they all tell different stories about what is happening up in the clouds.
Expert: Katie delivers on-air weather reports for her local news station, and says that she has long been fascinated by snow and ice
Oh dear: The TikTok user posted clips of another woman who was seen breaking an icicle down from her roof and then eating it
Safe: Katie’s protected the woman’s anonymity but warned others not to follow the disgusting trend that seems to be spreading across social media
‘For instance, needle snow indicates that temperatures up at cloud level are near 23 degrees Fahrenheit.’
The best thing about being a storm chaser is that Katie has been able to continue working during the pandemic as the activity is already socially distanced.
She said: ‘Not many people are willing to run toward tornadoes, but I love it!
‘I’ve continued chasing severe storms this year, broadcasting live to viewers in my area so that they know exactly where the tornado is in their communities.’
During the pandemic, Katie also began creating forecasts for her favourite fictional places and the videos proved to be a big hit with her 103,500 followers, gaining thousands of likes.
The meteorologist added: ‘I call them Fandom Forecasts and they’ve quickly become one of my favourite things.
‘I’ve forecasted for planets in the Star Trek and Star Wars universes, every nation in the world from the show Animaniacs, and for video game worlds like Pokemon.
‘It’s an idea that was born out of love and boredom that has turned into my signature content.’
The meteorologist also shares her fictional videos on YouTube (So Many Fandoms) and plans on creating plenty more videos in 2021 for her followers.