Ice is a wonder of nature that forms beautiful figures and designs. However, ice can also be extremely dangerous. It can cause winter roads to become slippery, which increases the chance of driving accidents. Also, when ice forms in a summer rainstorm, it can produce hail. Massive sized hail, often causes serious damage to people, farm crops, and property.
The creation of ice, or freezing rain, requires the right conditions. The air at the surface of the earth must be cold enough and the temperature has to be at or below 32˚ F (0˚ Celsius). Furthermore, the layer must be warmer than the air on its surface. When snow falls through is warm air, it of air above the Earth’s surface turns to drops of water. Then, it begins to refreeze and turns into ice when the raindrops settle on the cold surface.
Freezing rain sometimes pairs hail, an Earth's condition of weather that does not happen often but causes serious damage when it does. Hail forms when water droplet falls onto the bottom of the cloud, where it then collects a layer of ice. At that moment, wind forcefully lifts the water droplet up to the top of the cloud where it gathers more ice, and falls again. This process repeats over and over again for five to 10 minutes, the ball of ice becomes too heavy and starts to fall to the earth’s surface. This creates a storm of hail.
One of the most destructive, historic ice storms occurred in 1998. The places affected most by this storm were Canada, New England, New York, and some upper states of the U.S. In January, of this year, four inches of freezing rain fell in less than a week. The freezing, icy rain was so severe that electric poles and towers fell, ultimately leaving millions of people in the dark and cold. In some regions, the blackout even lasted for more then a month.
Ice can clearly be dangerous, but many fun things we do during the winter involve ice too. Consider ice-skating, ice fishing, ice sailing, and hockey, for example. Some people even like to eat ice cream during winter!
Ice is a powerful feat of nature, but it is also among the most dangerous of phenomenons. This type of weather sure can be pretty but, when you see it, watch out for frostbite!
[Source: Scholastic Atlas of Weather]