Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Boston, MA
NOUS41 KBOX 041251
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Taunton MA
851 AM EDT Fri Nov 4 2016
...Winter Weather Preparedness Week - Part Five...
The National Weather Service has declared the week of October 31
to November 5 as Winter Weather Preparedness Week. The following
is Part 5 of a 5-part series of informational statements.
Part 5 - Ice Safety
Freezing Drizzle and Freezing Rain...
Any amount of rain that freezes on contact with roadways or
sidewalks can be dangerous. Bridges and overpasses can be
particularly dangeous because they freeze before other surfaces.
Only one hundredth of an inch of freezing rain caused a 70-car
pileup in Worcester on December 1, 2013. However, when ice
accumulates to more than one-half inch on power lines, they can
be knocked down. Extreme damage to trees, utility poles, and
communications towers can occur when 1 to 2 inches of ice
accumulates. Power may not be restored for several days.
The National Weather Service issues a Freezing Rain Advisory
for ice amounts ranging from just a trace on roadways to less
than one-half inch. An Ice Storm Warning is issued when ice
is expected to accumulate one-half inch or more.
The term black ice refers to patchy ice on road surfaces that
cannot be easily seen. Often it is clear, with the black road
surface visible underneath. This can also be a deadly driving
hazard. It is most prevalent during the early morning hours,
especially after snowmelt on the roadways has had a chance to
refreeze overnight when the temperature drops below freezing.
Long cold spells can cause rivers and lakes to freeze. A rise
in the water level or a thaw breaks the ice into large chunks
which then become jammed at manmade and natural obstructions.
Ice jams can act as a dam, resulting in severe flooding, both
upstream and downstream of the blockage.
Ice on lakes and streams can become deadly. Before walking,
fishing, skiing, snowmobiling or engaging in any other activities
on ice, check with your local police, fire, or park department
to ensure that safe ice conditions exist. Do not go out on the
ice if you see
- cracks or holes in the ice
- flowing water around the edges, just below the surface, or
over the top of the ice
- ice that appears to have thawed and refrozen
Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep
it strong, but it can also insulate it to keep it from freezing.
Snow can hide cracks, weak, and open ice. Also, ice seldom
freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be one foot thick
in one spot and be only a few inches thick 10 feet away.
If you decide to venture out on the ice, remember the following
- Stay off the ice if it less than 2 inches thick.
- For walking, ice skating, or ice fishing, you need 4 or more
inches of ice thickness.
Never go onto the ice alone. A friend may be able to rescue you
or go for help if you fall through the ice. If a companion falls
through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from
shore, throw them something like a rope, jumper cables, a tree
branch, etc. If that does not help, call 9-1-1 before you also
become a victim. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
states that if you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the
direction from which you came. Place your hands and arms on the
unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once
out, remain lying on the ice and roll away from the hole -- but
do not stand. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight
distributed until you return to solid ice.
This concludes part 5 of the Winter Weather Preparedness Week.
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