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ICE STORM | Safety

5 reasons you MUST take ice storms seriously


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 8:00 PM - All eyes are on southern Ontario, with the looming threat for an ice storm with potential to bring widespread outages and travel delays this weekend.

A Clipper system is expected to bring winter-like conditions and periods of freezing rain, during a time when people are usually getting their snow tires removed.

Read our full forecast here, or check out the highlights below.


GET THE LATEST WEATHER ALERTS

WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Temperatures will jump above seasonal Thursday, crashing down again by Friday
  • Clipper system to bring rain to the south, snow/freezing rain north of the GTA on Thursday
  • Potent Colorado low develops late week, with major impacts from the U.S. into Ontario, potential winter storm for some 
  • Potential for widespread snow and freezing rain for parts of central and southern Ontario late week; track still uncertain. Forecast updates, HERE

Ice has the potential to create hazardous conditions and a lot of headaches.

Here are five reasons why you should ALWAYS take freezing rain or an 'ice storm' seriously.

5. FREEZING RAIN CAN BE HAZARDOUS, EVEN IF YOU STAY INDOORS

Freezing rain is heavy. It can easily coast trees and power lines, causing widespread damage and elevating the risk for power outages, which can be prolonged.

In December 2013, at least two people died and several people fell ill during an ice storm blackout in southern Ontario.

Carbon monoxide poisoning was the culprit, which occurred after people began using gas-powered generators and charcoal barbeques to warm their living spaces. 

Plan ahead to reduce the risk.

Charge necessary electronics, secure a safe heat source, and have flashlights, batteries, candles on hand.

Keeping a first-aid kit and spare cash nearby never hurts.

4. BEWARE OF FALLING ICE

Falling ice coming off of a vehicle or overpasses is a hazard during an ice event, 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.

VIDEO: WHY DO WE HAVE RAIN? WHY DO WE HAVE SNOW?


3. WIND CAN MAKE AN ICE STORM EVEN WORSE

Southern Ontario's weekend storm is expected to bring gusts around 60 km/h in some places.

In addition to blowing down tree branches and power lines, wind can also help dislodge ice and transport it to a wider area.

It can also cause icicles or chunks of ice to shake free from trees and buildings, sending them crashing to the ground with little-to-no warning.

2. EXPECT DELAYS AND PACK ACCORDINGLY

Ice storms equal slippery roads, which can contribute to an uptick in fender benders and slower-than-usual traffic. Fallen debris, like tree branches or powerlines, can cause road and lane closures.

Consider packing blankets, bottled water and a first-aid kit when heading out on the road this weekend. Make sure your phone is fully charged.

VIDEO: HOW TO DE-ICE YOUR DRIVEWAY


1. THE IMPACTS OF AN ICE STORM CAN LINGER FOR DAYS

Environment Canada is calling the upcoming system a "major ice storm" for some parts of southern Ontario with ice accumulations in excess of 20 millimetres possible.

If that happens, it can take some time for the ice to melt and damaged power lines to be repaired.

Temperatures could hover near the freezing mark for days after the storm, which means melting could be delayed -- especially if the sun declines to make an appearance.

GOOD OR BAD: PUTTING YOUR WIPER BLADES UP BEFORE A WINTER STORM? SEE BELOW FOR RIGHT ANSWER




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