|LOCAL FREAKISH WX SERIES:|
HEAVY FREEZING RAIN
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Freezing rain can be the most dangerous of winter weather events, especially when all objects on the ground are below freezing. One factor
that makes it so dangerous is the accumulation of ice on objects such as trees, power lines and antennas. This can cause significant damage
to trees, power lines being brought down, electricity going out for an extended amount of time and crippling impacts on transportation. The
heavier the precipitation, then the more significant and destructive the event can be. Many freezing drizzle/rain events consist of drizzle
and light freezing rain. In some situations though, heavy freezing rain can occur. This results in a freakish ice storm.
The heaviest of freezing rain will result from a strong convective thunderstorm. The troposphere aloft can be warmer and moist due to the
transport of warm air and moisture. This layer of air can flow over a subfreezing layer of air that is hugging the ground surface. These
events can be accompanied by thunder and lightning. The heavy freezing rain produces crippling impacts that occur very quickly. Whole
branches on trees crack to the ground, power lines are brought down and roads are coated in ice. Travel becomes very difficult if not
impossible due to vehicles being unable to drive on the ice. The power can go out for days as trees crash down on power lines. Severe
damage occurs to vegetation and property. The witnessing of a freezing rain thunderstorm with heavy rain is freakish indeed.