WEATHER SPECIAL: Impacts of ice across western Massachusetts

Weather News

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The 22News Storm Team looked into how to prepare for ice in western Massachusetts and how it has affected us in the past.

Ice can be very dangerous and very damaging. Freezing rain occurs when the air is warm enough for rain but the ground and other surfaces are at or below freezing. The rain freezes and forms a glaze of ice on whatever it comes in contact with.

When that ice forms on the roads it’s called black ice and it can make for extremely dangerous driving conditions especially if you’re car isn’t prepared for winter weather.

There are tires you can get however, that will help you drive in icy conditions.

“They still have what people think are old fashioned studded tires, there are still a lot of cars that you can put studded tires on, they work terrific. They’re little carbide studs that get pushed into the tire and they bite and rip into the ice and you’ll have unbelievable traction with them.”

Travis Koske, City Tire

When a winter storm is in the forecast and ice is expected, the temperature is very important in knowing how to treat the roads and parking lots.

“The treated salts tend to help lower the temperatures that the product will work, so an average white salt will only work to a little bit below freezing. If you treat them with calcium things like that you can get a lower working temperature so that it works better.”

Bill Golaski, G & H Landscaping

It may look very picturesque, but when ice accumulates on trees and power lines the results can be devastating. On December 12, 2008 a major ice storm hit the hill towns of western Massachusetts.

Trees came down everywhere making roads impassable and knocking out power to an estimated 350,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts.
A state of emergency was declared in a number of towns and the National Guard was called in to help with the clean up effort.

According to Priscilla Ress from Eversource, it is important to be aware and to take precautions before a storm hits.

If there is an ice storm you want to make sure you’re not driving under a line that could be weighed down by that ice. Think like an aborist, go around your own yard take a look at those trees are there trees that may in fact damage a line or also cause damage to your home.

Priscilla Ress, Eversource

Call 9-1-1 and to stay away from any downed power lines you come across during or after a storm.

A phenomenon that can occur in winter are ice jams. They’re caused when the ice breaks up on rivers and flows downstream. They’re not all that common here in southern New England but we did have to deal with them during the winter of 2017 – 2018.

Huge chunks of ice piled up in and along the banks of the Connecticut River. The ice jams caused some damage to Brunelle’s Marina in South Hadley.

Ice is definitely one of the worst things to have to deal with during winter, so whether it’s driving, power outages or ice jams, it’s important to be prepared.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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