When it warms up, ice melts: 4 things to keep in mind
Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 2:02 PM - Temperatures are warming up in southern Ontario, with Thursday's daytime highs hovering around 8 degrees Celsius.
That's great news for people who have had enough of the cold weather -- but a warm-up doesn't come without its risks.
Melting ice can be messy. For pedestrians, that can lead to slips and falls and for motorists, it can lead to fender benders.
Then there's the matter of falling ice and previously-frozen bodies of water.
Here are four things to keep in mind.
Be aware: Sheets of ice could fly off of transport trucks and overpasses
Falling ice coming off of a vehicle or overpasses is always a hazard, Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of the OPP tells The Weather Network.
While there isn't a lot you can do to avoid it in the moment, Schmidt says it's important to be proactive with your own vehicle.
"[Ice] can become a flying projectile once you hit highway speed ... and the vehicles behind you really have no chance to avoid it," he says, adding there's no law that requires transport truck operators to clear the ice off their trucks.
The best way to mitigate risks on the roads is to keep a safe distance behind other vehicles and be aware of your surroundings.
But sometimes, falling ice incidents are unavoidable.
Check out the damage a falling chunk of ice inflicted on an unoccupied vehicle in New York this week:
Pedestrians: Keep your eyes to the sky, but watch where you walk
So what can a pedestrian do to avoid colliding with a sheet of ice or icicle?
Schmidt says the best course of action is to keep your eyes open and peeled towards the sky. "If you're walking under any structure -- crosswalk, overpass, bridge, etc. -- where there may be ice or water or icicles handing down from above, just be careful," he says.
Another thing to keep in mind: Any partially-melted ice that's coating the ground will be extra slippery.
On average, more than 60 people in Canada visit an emergency department dailyfor injuries relating to snow and ice, according to a 2009 report by the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre. In 2005, Canada saw 21,213 emergency department visits and 2,038 hospitalizations relating to ice and snow.
Older adults are the most susceptible.
Wearing shoes with good grips, taking your time and being aware of your surroundings are the best defense.
VIDEO: SHEETS OF ICE FALL FROM TORONTO BUILDINGS | FEBRUARY 2017:
Wind and sun can exacerbate the issue
Thursday's forecast is calling for light-to-moderate winds in parts of southern Ontario. This can help dislodge ice and transport it to a wider area.
One more thing to keep in mind: The sun doesn't have to feel warm to melt the ice: It's science!
When sun shines on ice, it absorbs UV rays that can cause it to warm and melt, even if the temperature is chilly.
Other objects -- like trees or buildings -- can warm up even more and accelerate ice melt which can, in turn, cause pieces to fall.
Beware of previously-frozen bodies of water
No ice is safe ice, according to Sgt. Schmidt, and that's especially true after a warm-up.
Previously-frozen bodies of water should be treated with extreme caution or outright avoided. If you'll be venturing near a large body of ice, consider bringing ice picks and don't go alone. Make sure there's someone on land who can keep track of you.
Another thing to keep in mind: Thawing ice also presents the risk of flooding on roadways, in parks and on streets.
VIDEO: MEASURING THE THICKNESS OF ICE:
Check back often to see what's next for southern Ontario.