Freezing rain and sleet often cause major problems for travel and sometimes life threatening situations across the Bi-State area. Freezing rain, which is rain that freezes when it comes into contact with an object creating a glaze, can be especially dangerous.

Ice storms produce a significant accumulation (1/4 inch or more) of ice during freezing rain. To produce this amount of ice, freezing rain usually has to occur for several hours. This glaze of ice carries a substantial amount of weight and can bring down trees and power lines and leave thousands without power for several days. Travel can be difficult since we all know how difficult it is to drive on a sheet of ice. Pedestrians also have a difficult time which can result in falls and broken bones.

Ice Leads To Bumpy Roads

One of the many aftermaths of winter storms is bumpy roads filled with potholes. Often, as temperatures warm above freezing and then refreeze, many streets and roads are left with numerous potholes caused by ice. These potholes can be caused by the water seeping into cracks in the road surface and then expanding as it freezes. This just makes the crack larger and eventually can break up a whole area into a pothole.

Potholes can also be caused by expanding ice pushing soil down away from the asphalt surface. When the ice melts, a cavity is formed. As cars and trucks drive over these cavities, the weight causes the asphalt to collapse, creating numerous potholes. The pothole problem is worsened during periods of slow melting, where above-freezing days allow melting and below-freezing nights cause a refreezing of the water beneath the asphalt surface.

Download How to Go On Ice and Snow provided by AAA (PDF)