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Icicles (Rec)

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Icicles (Rec) by Kings Cannabis

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Icicles (Rec) by Kings Cannabis

Meteorologist’s stomach-churning PSA on eating icicles goes viral: ‘Please don’t do that’

An Iowa meteorologist published a viral TikTok video with an off-beat winter warning: Don’t eat icicles.

This week, Katie Nickolaou, the morning meteorologist at KMEG 14’s Siouxland News at Sunrise shared a TikTok video of a woman (with her face obscured) eating a long icicle pulled from the roof of her home. “Please don’t do that,” Nickolaou, 24, says in the footage. “I’m a meteorologist — I should know.”

She explains: “When icicles form, it’s from water that melts off of your roof and runs down the side of a building. 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!”

Her video has amassed 10.6 million views on Tiktok. Across her social media platforms, Nickolaou has shared her love of chasing tornados and factoids about snow and ice.

Nickolaou tells Yahoo Life that she made the video after viewing online videos of people eating icicles plucked from rooftops or car exhaust pipes. “It’s almost like a rite of passage where I grew up in Michigan,” she says. “But where does that water come from?”

“In order for water to condense and form rain or snow, it needs cloud condensation nuclei [aerosol particles],” she says. “That’s a fancy term for a piece of dirt, salt, carbon or dust.” Icicles from rooftops can contain tar, lead or animal excrement, she says, and those from car mufflers may carry exhaust and other carcinogens.

Nickolaou, who has worked at the station for less than two years, wants to make people excited about the weather.

“Next week, I’m posting a video about why you shouldn’t eat snow,” she tells Yahoo Life. “It contains an insect known as ‘snow fleas,’” referring to Springtails fossils, described as black wingless insects that are found in snow. “When you hang around enough weather nerds, you learn that fun fact.”

Related: Perfectly-formed Christmas bauble icicles hang from tree branch in Canada

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The Iowa meteorologist shared the dirty truth about the childhood tradition.