Tips for Winter Road Hazards

By: Marina Jurica Email
By: Marina Jurica Email

It's the wind that has our attention now, but soon winter weather will hit and that means a hazardous time on the roads.

Winter precipitation can be both beautiful and hazardous. Rain is liquid precipitation and even though it’s essential to replenish our lakes and streams, it can create slick roads.

Looking at the rain profile, the entire sequence of events for precipitation occurs above freezing temperatures so you would forecast rain. Looking at the temperature profile at different levels in the atmosphere is crucial to forecasting precipitation type.

Snow can also be pretty, but dangerous especially when you have a wet snow. It can be very heavy and do a lot of structural damage.

Snow forms at temperatures below freezing. For snow to reach the earth's surface the entire temperature profile needs to be at or below freezing. Snow can occur when temperatures are above freezing, but it is more unusual.

Sleet or ice pellets are frozen raindrops that hit the earth's surface. They can make driving conditions very slick in a very short time.

At first sleet is snow in the upper levels of the atmosphere and as it falls, it goes through a warm layer that partially melts the snow. It will then enter into a layer above freezing as it falls to the ground and have time to re-freeze.

Freezing rain can cause structural damage and cut of power to vast areas. Also, it is unbearable to drive in.

Freezing rain is liquid precipitation that reaches the surface in the form of drops that freeze on the earth's surface. Ice storms can disable entire cities and regions so this is an important winter event to watch out for.

Winter can be a beautiful time of the year, you just have to make sure you use good sense on the roads and stay on top of the ever changing weather.

You can register for WSAZ’s First Warning Personal Forecast and download the desktop weather icon.

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