What is freezing rain?

6 Storm Team Weather School

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — We have four types of winter precipitation here in East Tennessee and of course you know about snow and you know about rain, and you probably know about sleet even but do you know much about freezing rain?

Freezing rain happens to be the most dangerous types of winter precipitation, and the reason is that snowflakes in the clouds fall through the clouds, and it hits mild and about freezing temperatures where it melts into raindrops. When it hits the ground, if the surface of the earth is cold or had cold enough temperatures to be at or below freezing, you get the icy situation.

It’s kind of like ice skating on the ice skating rink. Just a narrow sheet of ice and it’s hard to tell unless you’re actually driving on it if it’s slippery or not. 

So what happens? What do you need to do, and how can you be safe if you have freezing rain? Well, the bottom line is you’d don’t want to be driving if you have freezing rain around.  It’s hard to detect and it’s hard to control your vehicle. Avoid driving, avoid sudden stops and if sliding, turn your wheels in the same direction and it helps you get out of your spin. Avoid hills or steep inclines.

The problem we have with freezing rain is that it just looks like liquid on the ground. It may be liquid for a short period, but it freezes really quickly.

So freezing rain is probably the most dangerous of winter precipitation because trees and power lines get glazed with ice and those fall down and cause power outages, terrible driving conditions and dangerous situations. Freezing rain you don’t want it and luckily, we don’t get it very often in East Tennessee.

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