Why are Ice Storms so Dangerous?

Ice storms are some of the world’s most dangerous and deceptive weather patterns. Oftentimes, people look outside after an ice storm and see no snow and believe that it is safe to head out and that little to no property damage has or will occur. However, what happens is that transparent ice has attached itself to just about everything outside and is dangerously weighing down things like tree branches and power lines. This occurs when precipitation falls from a below-freezing air layer to one that is above freezing before finishing back in below-freezing temperatures prior to hitting the ground. If the precipitation were to remain in below-freezing air, it would have landed as snow. If it were to enter and remain in warmer air, it would have fallen as rain. However, when it becomes freezing rain, it lands as a super cooled liquid before adhering itself to trees, buildings and roads in frozen form, adding a tremendous amount of weight. That weight is what causes much of the property damage that results from ice storms. Just a quarter of an inch of ice can add 500 pounds of weight to a power line or tree branch. Freezing rain that results in an inch of ice can add thousands of pounds of weight. Many people will need to contact a property damage attorney after suddenly heavy branches smash through their roof, windows or damage their vehicles. These attorneys may also be able to help individuals get reimbursed when the damage causes food to spoil because of a power outage or a hotel stay to be necessary. Those suffering from hail damage to their property during warmer times of the year can also benefit from contacting a property damage attorney. Those expecting an ice storm of this magnitude can do several things to prepare for the event. Ensuring that all laptops and cell phones are fully charged will help ensure that there are a variety of ways to get in contact with others should the power go out due to fallen power lines or tree branches. Having a battery-powered radio is also useful as it ensures that emergency information that is being communicated over the air can be heard. Access to battery-powered flashlights is essential as well. These are safer than candles as fires sometimes result from the open flames. Having alternate heat sources is important as well. Examples include a fireplace or wood or coal stove. However, items such as grills or portable generators should never be used inside due to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. If the power does go out, the best way to keep refrigerated and frozen food items safe is to keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. In general, food will be kept cold in an unopened refrigerator for four hours, and an unopened freezer will keep food frozen for about 24-48 hours. The fuller a freezer is, the longer the food will remain frozen. Simply not leaving home can be essential to staying safe as accidents are much more likely during an ice storm as the visually deceptive and highly dangerous black ice usually forms in these situations. It is especially risky to travel on bridges during and immediately following these types of storms as black ice usually forms on these structures first due to all of the cold air that exists below them. Property damage from falling items could happen to vehicles driven on the road as well. During and after an ice storm, make sure that children and adults do not linger under branches or other items that could fall as serious injuries could result from such an incident.