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The Dangers of ice storms

For the first time in several years, Mid-Missouri is bracing for a significant ice storm. The last such event occurred during December 2007 and caused nearly 130,000 dollars in damage.

Thanks to the perfect weather set-up, for the weekend, Mid-Missouri could see up to half an inch of ice or more across the region. Freezing rain is unique in that it starts out as snow several thousand feet above the surface of the earth, melts as it enters warmer air, and then refreezes at the surface, where temperatures are at or below freezing.  This is what can be expected through the weekend for Mid-Missouri.

With significant icing expected across a good portion of Mid-Missouri, here are some facts people need to know about the dangers of ice:

- A quarter of an inch of ice can add 500 extra pounds to the weight of a power line.  With up to a half an inch or more expected, down power lines are likely as more than 1000 plus pounds will be added on to the lines.

- Ice accumulating on trees increases the weight of the branch by 30 times.  So a 50 pound branch would weigh about 1,500 pounds, which is why tree limbs and trees are expected to come down.  The most susceptible trees are poplars, silver maples, birches, willows, and hack-berries.  This is due to them being fast growers and developing weak spots where they will break under the weight.

- Due to the ice accumulating on roadways, it creates a lethal sheet of ice that is not safe to drive on at all. If anyone has to drive on ice, there are some tips to follow.  Reduce the speed of your car, be easy on the breaks, and turn into the slide if the car starts skidding.  Don't jerk the wheel, but gradually turn into the slide.  Of course, the best tip is to not drive in icy weather at all.

With up to half an inch of more of ice expected across Mid-Missouri, widespread power outages, downed trees, and impassable roads are likely.  Freezing rain won't come to an end until Sunday afternoon, where warmer air will finally surge into the area.  In advance of this significant ice storm, ice storm warnings have been issued for a good portion of Mid-Missouri beginning Friday morning and lasting through noon on Sunday.



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