Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees or weigh down utility poles and communication towers. It’s important to stay alert during ice storm warnings.
WASHINGTON — When most people hear winter weather storms, they probably think snow. But that’s not the only hurdle the cold can throw at us.
Ice accumulations can bring drivers to a complete standstill, cause widespread power outages in the region, and greatly increase the chance of injuries during normal activities.
What does ice accumulation mean?
Ice accumulation is the total amount of ice built up during a set time period. According to the National Weather Service, heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees and weigh down utility poles and communication towers. Even small accumulations of ice can be extremely dangerous to pedestrians and drivers.
How much ice accumulation does it take to cause problems?
One-tenth of an inch of ice will cause slick spots on some roads and sidewalks. You can think of one-tenth ice like a light graze.
A quarter-inch of ice can quickly turn into a big problem for many people, causing tree branches and powerlines to become weighed down, and causing possible isolated power outages.
A half-inch of ice will absolutely hamper a city or town. This much ice will cause widespread tree damage as well as power outages.
A reminder that with any amount of ice, you should stay off the roads if you can.
If you come across patches of ice over bodies of water, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Stay off the ice if it is less than 2 inches thick
- For ice fishing, ice skating and walking, the ice should be at least 4-inches deep; snowmobiles and ATVs need at least 5 inches
- To drive a car or small pickup on ice you need at least 8 to 12 inches of ice
- For medium-sized trucks, there must be at least 12 to 15 inches
Ice Storm in Northern Virginia and Maryland – December 15, 2022
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