Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Newport/Morehead, NC

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Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City NC
529 AM EST Sat Dec 9 2017

DECEMBER 3-9, 2017...

This week has been declared winter weather preparedness week in
North Carolina. All week long the National Weather Service has
been issuing informative messages to help you prepare for winter
weather.  Today we will talk about the dangers of ice in the form
of freezing rain and sleet.

Ice falling in the form of freezing rain is particularly dangerous
and poses a variety of problems. Freezing rain occurs when liquid
precipitation, which could be rain or melted snow, strikes a
surface that is below freezing. In this scenario temperatures at
the surface are below freezing while at least a portion of the
atmosphere is above freezing. The liquid precipitation freezes
upon contact with the ground, trees, power lines and roadways.

The ability of freezing rain to accumulate on nearly every surface
including trees, power lines, and bridges makes it one of the most
dangerous forms of winter weather. As little as a quarter inch of
freezing rain can create widespread power outages.  On February
17th of 2015 inland areas of Eastern North Carolina saw widespread
freezing rain that produced up to a quarter inch of ice.  This
led to many limbs down with power outages.

Just small amounts of freezing rain can cover the pavement and
especially bridges with a solid glaze of ice making driving
extremely dangerous and nearly impossible. Over 85 percent of ice
storm deaths are traffic related. Freezing rain will even
accumulate on the steps and railings of your home making going out
the door hazardous. Many injuries occur every year when people
slip on ice.

Sleet can also be dangerous for motorists. Sleet forms when a
raindrop falls and encounters freezing temperatures above the
earths surface and freezes into an ice pellet just before reaching the
ground. Sleet can accumulate very efficiently on roads and sidewalks.
Since sleet is a small solid ball of ice it usually accumulates more
efficiently than snow. This is why sleet can make roadways and walkways
very dangerous in just a short amount of time.

When driving, ice can be very difficult to recognize. The roadway
may appear to be wet when in reality what appears to be water may
actually be ice. If the temperature outside is below freezing, ice
can form on the roads, especially on bridges and overpasses. When
encountering ice, do not panic and do not stomp on your brakes.
Striking your brakes will cause your car to slide into a skid. It
is safer to slowly decelerate to a stop. Driving slow and
defensively goes a long way when driving on ice and snow.

The National Weather Service issues Winter Storm Watches and
Warnings when a quarter inch or more of freezing rain is forecast.
Winter Storm Watches and Warnings are also issued when a half of
an inch or more of sleet is expected. These watches and warnings
are issued to help protect life and property, allowing local
communities time to prepare for the winter weather. Winter Weather
Advisories are issued when light accumulations of freezing rain or
sleet less than a quarter of an inch are expected to cause travel
problems and hazardous conditions.

Additional winter weather preparedness resources:
NWS winter safety page:
North Carolina Department of Public Safety preparedness page:
FEMA`s winter preparedness page:

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