Winter Storm Safety: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe and Warm
Winter storms arise when the temperature is at or below 32 degrees, and strong, gusting winds are present to draw moisture from bodies of water to create clouds. As the moisture returns to the ground, the cold temperature it encounters on the way down forms freezing rain, sleet, and snow.
Ice storms are more likely when temperatures are closer to freezing, and a blizzard is more likely when the temperatures are well below freezing. Both types of precipitation create dangerous conditions that require you to be more vigilant than usual and engage in safety practices for all situations.
Whether with ice or heavy snow, winter storms cause low visibility, slick roads, and blinding glare from reflected light. The ambient temperature of asphalt and concrete roadways reflects that of the air and allows ice and snow to build up. Ice freezes on the roadway, sometimes resulting in black ice that’s almost invisible to the eye and can cause you to spin out unexpectedly.
Snow builds up on the roads and makes it difficult for you to see where the lanes and shoulders are located. It also packs down, creating ice buried under the snow, and ruts are formed as cars pass over the drifts. Last but not least, blowing snow and ice lowers visibility conditions for everyone, which makes travel and outdoor activities dangerous.