What is Freezing Rain

Freezing rain is a dreadful thing to those who have at an encounter with its foreboding gloom. It can be a beautiful thing, especially for school boys and girls looking for a day off. It can also be an amazing phenomena. I remember I was travel, when freezing was happening back home. I called my wife and she was excited to report that she has had a hockey game on the driveway, with skates.

Freezing rain can wreck havoc over a large area and millions of people. In the St. Lawrence (St. Laurent) River, we get freezing rain at least once a year. Some years we get several and one off them usually falls around the Christmas New Years period. The so called Ice Storm of January 1988 was a big one. It was called the Ice Storm of the Century and it closed down much of the American Eastern Seaboard. It crumbled the giant long distance power grid.

Freezing rain happens when rain falls and freezes on contact. The contact material can be the road, houses, trees, snow. Freezing rain happens when there a cold air mass on the ground and above. Then above this air mass it another air mass which is above freezing temperatures is moving. Therefore the precipitation begins to fall as rain. It then hits the ground or a solid object still as rain but freezes on contact. That is freezing rain.

Freezing rain is different from sleet or ice pellets. Sleet also begin to descent as rain but freezes midair becoming small crystal pellets. The can be translucent or cloud as ice. Snow pellets are hard pack snow, but the are not in ice form. Sleet and snow pellets can sting the skin on contact. These are also different from hail which usually occurs in the warmer seasons. Hail is like ice pellets but the came be large as golf balls.

Freezing rain can debilitate cities, highways, and businesses. It can coat all things with ice. It can accumulate so heavily that it will bring down trees and power lines. It is also very hazardous for drivers. It can make the roads ice. It can also freeze onto the windshield on contact reducing visual function very difficult. It can also accumulate on snow laden roofs and force a cave in. Ice is more dense and heavier than snow.

A flash freeze is also a different matter. Flash freezing is very hazardous for drivers especially. It happens when rain falls at around freezing point. Rain falls but does not freeze on contact. Then when flash freeze event happens, the moisture on the ground freezes instantly. A driver can skid and spin out of control in an instant. When freezing rains and flash freeze warnings are in effect, you should give yourself plenty of space between cars. Better yet get of the road until flash freezing has occurred. Road accidents can cause death, injuries, auto repairs and towing, and inconvenience of time and trouble.

Freezing rain for all it’s destructive power is beautiful. There is something enchanting about ice laden branches. Even watching the expressions of drivers inadvertently skidding into the intersection can be very amusing. Then there are the accidents that just consume attention. They call it “curiosity” I call it “intrigue.

source www.noaa.gov