Ice Storm

When we first moved to Oregon, we had never heard of freezing rain. How can rain freeze? Wouldn’t it just be hail or sleet? Well, we quickly learned the answer to that was, no.

Freezing rain occurs some years more often than snowfall, especially in our gorge climate. It is caused by snow melting as it falls and then refreezing when it hits the ground. In a deep gorge, we can have many layers of temperatures between the clouds and the earth, so the water often does change into many different forms before we see it land.

However, freezing rain is different from all other weather. Water falls from the sky, coats whatever it hits and then freezes. This kind of ice is impossible to drive, walk or do much of anything on without disaster. And depending on how thick it gets, it can be a real nightmare.

We had a little bout of freezing rain that lasted on and off for about three days. It was a drizzle of rain, so not much moisture… but enough to make driving or walking challenging. The aftermath is interesting and beautiful, if you don’t have to go out into it!

What looks like wet ground is actually a slippery, frozen sheet of ice.

What looks like wet ground is actually a slippery, frozen sheet of ice.

Ice will coat all the tiniest branches of the trees -- making them look like beautiful ghosts.

Ice will coat all the tiniest branches of the trees — making them look like beautiful ghosts.

In this close up of a tiny branch you can see how it really coats every little nook and cranny.

In this close up of a tiny branch you can see how it really coats every little nook and cranny.

The week of below freezing weather also meant frozen water for the animals. We had to bring out fresh water a couple times a day.

The week of below freezing weather also meant frozen water for the animals. We had to bring out fresh water a couple times a day.

When it starts to melt, it will fall from the tops of the trees in clumps. The sound of it hitting the ground is like gunshots and it looks like the and ice machine exploded!

When it starts to melt, it will fall from the tops of the trees in clumps. The sound of it hitting the ground is like gunshots and it looks like an ice machine exploded!

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