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WQAD.com

What you need to know before a potential Midwest ice storm

The last time the QC experienced freezing rain was just last year in February. About 2 tenths of an inch were recorded and caused numerous accidents, power outa...

The last time the QC experienced freezing rain was just last year in February. About 2 tenths of an inch were recorded and caused numerous accidents, power outages, and trees to lose limbs. There is potential to see these conditions again.

Here's how freezing rain occurs.

Snow begins to fall, but in between the cloud base and the surface, there is a thick layer of warm air that melts the snow into rain.

This rain then makes contact to the freezing surface and begins to build up a layer of ice. Just a little bit of ice accumulation can cause a major headache on roads and a glaze on trees and power lines.

If we increase the amount to nearly a half-inch, power outages are more likely. And if over a half-inch of freezing rain falls, widespread outages are seen and roads become impassable.

About a half-inch of ice can add 500 pounds of extra weight to power lines and can increase the weight of tree branches by 30 times.

Looking at the upcoming winter storm, freezing precipitation will begin Friday night. Expect only light ice accumulation in some spots but that could change in the next 24 hours.