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What do I need to know about an Ice Storm?(38 posts)

What do I need to know about an Ice Storm?MB1
Dec 10, 2002 12:45 PM
The forecast is for freezing rain starting around midnight, I've never been in this kind of weather. Miss M is laughing at me and my ignorance.

I guess I'll be taking that longed for day off. What can I expect?
If we get a real one wear golf shoes to workbigrider
Dec 10, 2002 12:53 PM
Several winters ago on our beloved east coast we had around five ice storms in a row. What torture. It was dangerous to walk much less ride a bike. Since I live between you and Hummah Hah I can feel your pain and will miss the pics of tomorrow.

PS I am taking the day off too, but I take a bunch of days off.
Beautiful, but hard to ride afterwards...floatch
Dec 10, 2002 12:54 PM
Everything will be covered in a thin layer of clear ice. The trees are particularly pretty, but the roads will be bad. You'll be fine with studded tires. Quite honestly, I'd rather ride a bike after an ice storm than drive a car.
Yes, take the day off, don your camera and best hiking bootsKristin
Dec 11, 2002 6:01 AM
Its worth capturing on film. Have you ever seen black ice before? I have. Usually you don't know you're on it until its too late. And forget the ice scrapper for your car...break out the chisel. Its a bit too late today, but if it happens in your area again, make sure you get up to see the sun rise--if indeed it can be seen. It will be amazing.

I second on the comment below...beware of falling branches and powerlines. Transformers have a habit of becoming bright displays as well.
Stay away from trees.MXL02
Dec 10, 2002 12:57 PM
People have been killed by frozen branches breaking off trees and falling on them as the walk underneath. Sounds weird, but it does happen...seems like I've heard of at least one reported death from that scenario during the several ice storms I've been through.
and power lines.............Dave Hickey
Dec 10, 2002 12:58 PM
Look at North Carolina last week. People are still without power.
and wiresms
Dec 10, 2002 1:06 PM
During an ice storm near my house about five years ago, there were live wires down on the roads. MXL02 is right about trees, too. Not just small branches come down during ice storms. An old, large tree in my neighborhood split in half during an ice storm -- if a car had been on the road when it split, the car would have been crushed. Given the amount of time that you spend on the roads, I doubt that you have had to resort to a trainer or rollers like the rest of us. But, if you do have a trainer or rollers, tomorrow may be better spend riding indoors. In the event that you do venture out on the roads after an ice storm, beware of loud, cracking sounds -- especially if an old tree is nearby.
re: What do I need to know about an Ice Storm?Spunout
Dec 10, 2002 12:58 PM
Be prepared to have no electricity for a week. You'll need a heat source, but do not bring your barbeque inside to heat your home(laugh, but so many people died in ONT/QUE four years ago in our bad storm). Buy a generator and have an external service plug into you home's fusebox.

Funny thing, the old survivialists with bomb shelters seem to survive the best.
A link to my experience...Spunout
Dec 10, 2002 1:04 PM
i was living in Mtl during that storm..._rt_
Dec 10, 2002 1:20 PM
and it was a doozy! no power in my neighborhood for 5 days. brrrrr! it was so cold in my house i could see my breath. glad i wasn't in "the dark triangle" where they didn't have power for 3 weeks!

the amazing thing was looking at the trees on Mount Royal in the spring. all of the trees were sheared off at the same height!

stunning display of nature's force.

somewhere there's a better pic of this with the sun setting behind the collapsed towers, but i couldn't find it.

If you are on your Lightspeed, it won't suck...Gregory Taylor
Dec 10, 2002 1:02 PM
Actually, we had an ice storm a few years back. Were you here then? It coated everything in a layer of ice. In terms of getting out, you might actually be okay on the studded Nokians.

I did the commuter thing yesterday -- the GW Trail was in pretty bad shape. Slick ice where the walkers/skiers/joggers have packed down the snow. Took me 90 minutes to cover the 15 miles to work. The ride home in the dark was exciting.
We started to cross the 14th Street Bridge last night.MB1
Dec 10, 2002 1:13 PM
What a mess. We had our studded tires so we had no problems with the ice but the footprints really made the going rough. We turned around.

We haven't crossed the river since Thursday.

The ice storm a few years back? We were doing a tandem tour in Arizona-no such luck this year.
Amen to that. Hopefully this will be rain....Gregory Taylor
Dec 10, 2002 1:23 PM
...and we'll get a good soaking that will melt the ice and wash away the salt that they have dumped on the road. You could cure a ham on the roads in my neighborhood with the amount of salt that they dropped.

I've got my BRAND NEW AND NEVER RIDDEN canary yellow Dean sitting the the basement, waiting for a clean, clear day to go and try it out. I picked it up last week right before the snow, and didn't even get a chance to try it out.
buy all the bread, eggs, & milk you can...._rt_
Dec 10, 2002 1:03 PM
well, that's what southerners do. ;-) i've never figured out why since most likely your power will go out and you will be stuck with mouldy bread, spoiled milk, and enough eggs to send your cholesterol through the roof for the next 1/2 century.

ice storms are beautiful, destructive, and dangerous. ice is incredibly heavy--heavier than snow since it is more concentrated & more can accumulate in a small area (e.g., a tree branch). as such, ice storms can take down power lines, tree branches (large & small), and entire trees. driving is a really bad idea. stay home, hang out, light a fire, read a book. if you get any ice at all unless you are an ER doc on call there really isn't any reason to go out in a vehicle.

my parents & my brother/sister-in-law all live in Chapel Hill, NC and are still without power after last week's storm. worse even for my brother, they have no water or phone either (and have been going to my parent's house to shower & do dishes!)

best advice: enjoy your day off!

Make sure to cook those warm eggs thoroughlyKristin
Dec 11, 2002 6:28 AM
Sour milk will probably not stay down as well; but is less likely to harm you. Eggs that reach tempuratures above 40F can develop a strain of bacteria that can lead to death. Its funny that most people have never been told how dangerous eggs can be. Here is some info from the CSPI--they are a sort of thorn in the side of the USDA & FDA. I can't speak to the accuracy of their reports, as they never quote any actual studies; but I do know that egg contamination is a real risk. I always cook my eggs well these days since I have no way of knowing my eggs were properly refridgerated before I bought them.

"Salmonella enteritidis, the strain of Salmonella most likely to contaminate eggs, caused between 200,000 and 800,000 illnesses in 1994, the last year for which such data are available. Salmonellosis symptoms, which include nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, and headache, usually appear within six to 48 hours after eating. Salmonella causes bloodstream infections and long-term complications, such as reactive arthritis. In the very old, the very young, and the immuno-compromised, infection can lead to death. Some standard egg cooking practices, including frying eggs "sunny side up," are often not sufficient to kill all the Salmonella that may be present in raw eggs.

E. coli O157:H7, which has been linked to beef and other foods, sickens an estimated 21,000 people annually and kills at least 450. It is present in beef only when the animals' intestinal contents or manure are permitted to contaminate the muscle meat..."
Downed power lines.Alex-in-Evanston
Dec 10, 2002 1:05 PM
I can't imagine a human being more prepared to ride in this mess than you. However, be prepared to lose your power at home and steer clear of downed lines on the road.

Stay safe,

Riding in an ice storm.dzrider
Dec 10, 2002 1:07 PM
We get these fairly often in CT and the worst of them happen when rain falls and freezes on the ground. Traffic and sand often keep the center of busier streets clear, but shoulders, side roads, parking lots and driveways can be treacherous. After dark it can be hard to tell the wet roads from icy roads.

Riding home one evening in what looked like light rain I turned onto a quiet street and the bike went out from under me and slid down the ice about 15 yards. I got up, started walking toward it and fell again. I picked up the bike and walked on the grass back to the busier street. The rest of the ride home went without incident until I turned into my driveway and fell a third time.
Severity depends on many factorsScot_Gore
Dec 10, 2002 1:07 PM
How much it rains
How cold it was and remains
Freezing rain combined with +1 inch of snow... not bad.
Freezing rain combined with <1 inch of snow... BAD
It's harder on your house and trees than it is for riding conditions.

But mostly it will be similar to your experience the other day. Riding on frozen slush isn't that much different.

From what I've seen you've got the equipment and are ready. I'd stay indoors : )

Good luck

That we don't get them here in Hosuton, that's allInhighgear
Dec 10, 2002 1:09 PM
Hurricanes, yes Ice, no
You're in DC.......Len J
Dec 10, 2002 1:10 PM
they will have the power on in your area in about 30 minutes.

I'm trying to picture you & Miss M stuck in the house for 2 days without any riding.............It could get very ugly, the house could get very small.

Seriously, have some alternative lighting, a radio that runs on batteries, enough food for a couple of days and make it what you guys make advetnture.

the general rule in DC during any weather event..PANIC!!!Djudd
Dec 10, 2002 1:21 PM
I've seen people around here abandon thier cars on a major road (Conn. Ave.) during a heavy snow...and, of course, as soon as the television weatherman says snow or ice there is a run on the supermarkets for milk and tissue (?) I think tv news and food markets are in league to add to the coffers.
ice storms suck big timetarwheel
Dec 10, 2002 1:27 PM
There is little good that comes out of an ice storm. It is somewhat pretty after a storm, but not as nice as after a snow. After that, it's all negatives. Usually the power goes out and it can take a while to fix because the damage can be widespread. There are still many people in the Raleigh-Durham area without power nearly a week after the ice storm we had last Wednesday. If it's cold enough to coat the streets, traction is treacherous. I'm not even sure it would be safe to ride a bike with studded tires. On top of that, trees and limbs fall all over the place -- across roads, power lines, houses, etc. Make sure sure stock up on basics -- milk, bread, eggs, batteries, candles, firewood, etc.
How to deal with a DC ice storm ...Humma Hah
Dec 10, 2002 1:48 PM
... The Best Strategy is to crawl back in bed, pull the covers up around your chin, and go back to sleep.

Actually, the only ways to drive on a slick coating of ice are chains, cables, or studded snow tires. Since you have a bike equipped with studded snow tires, you could probably ride on ice just fine. The problem is, nobody else will be thus equipped. If, by some miracle, the usual crop of idiots are actually following the Best Strategy, and the roads are nearly deserted, you can probably get away with riding. If, however, the usual case applies, they'll be sliding all over the place, out of control, and the only safe way to travel is by tank.
Expect horror.djg
Dec 10, 2002 3:38 PM
Apart from tumbling power lines and pedestrians, ice storms are tough on even experienced and equipped drivers. In the greater DC area, I'd stay off the roads as much as possible. Most drivers around here seem pathologically incompetent on snow. On ice you have to figure that they're deadly.
This is a good point, and one reason I avoid riding in snowKristin
Dec 11, 2002 6:33 AM
Its not so much that I'm worried about skidding on my bike and careening myself out into oncoming traffic, but rather that some dumb driver will loose control of his 5 ton vehicle and go careening into me.
Just one thing.....grzy
Dec 10, 2002 3:50 PM
Winter is totally optional in California - this coming from a kid who spent his first 21 years (notice I didn't say "grew up") in New England and delivered the Boston Globe on his bike 7 days per week for 3 years. Don't get me wrong - I love to ski - it's just that when I'm not skiing I can do without all the hassle.

One more thing - I have yet to find a flag pole that tastes just like a popsicle...... ;-b
Implied - they SUCK! -nmgrzy
Dec 10, 2002 4:09 PM
I lived in Quincy for 5 yearsbigrider
Dec 11, 2002 4:52 AM
Was a Herald man myself. Actually whatever I could find on a red line train left over from a previous rider.
homeowners nightmareDaveG
Dec 10, 2002 4:59 PM
Losing electricity, fallen trees, insane driving conditions. In the nasty set of ice storms we had in the northeast in '96, I had a full-sized Sweetgum tree snap off at the trunk from the weight. Luckily missed the house. Bike riding is out of the question. I hope the forecasters are wrong
re: What do I need to know about an Ice Storm?Shaunus
Dec 10, 2002 5:50 PM
Not that Bad. I lived in Sweden for a couple of years and you learn to deal with it. If you wan't to keep riding, I suggest you switch to a mountain bike and put on studded tyres. Makes a big difference. Also, a computer with a temperature gauge if you do a lot of miles in the cold. That way you can tell if it's getting close to 0degrees Celsius and you can alter your riding style accordingly. Make sure your knees are well covered!!
Be prepared to live like Amish for a while....Lone Gunman
Dec 10, 2002 6:18 PM
If you loose electricity like they have in NC for more than a few days, make plans fast...water first, food preparation second (saving what is frozen is included), property preservation third (frozen pipes, fireplace ready or alternate heat source that is carbon monoxide save). Once you got that nailed, go out or look out and enjoy but watch out for natures pruning season (falling limbs).
don't ride in itDuane Gran
Dec 10, 2002 7:34 PM
I live in DC and grew up in the midwest, where the winter is basically a switch between snow and freezing rain. Aside from what the folks say, you can't ride a bike on ice.

All that aside, I'm more scared of the people in two ton vehicles who may slide into me. For that reason I will be foregoing my bike commute in favor of some trainer time. I do hope the bus routes are running.
Dec 11, 2002 6:48 AM
The roads here is Baltimore have a mixture of sleet and ice on them. However, given that most people have stayed home, my commute (by car today) was shorter than usual. So, did you take that longed for day off? Or, did you brave the elements?
Dec 11, 2002 7:03 AM
Everything had a pretty good coat of ice on top when we started out-the Nokian studded tires are great on ice. It didn't take long before the rain was coming down so hard that I was more worried about getting soaked than I was about sliding on ice.

I never would have even left the house without the studded tires. My Burley Jacket, goretex pants and helmet cover kept me nicely warm and dry.

Now all we gotta do is get home.
Alright! (nm)Gregory Taylor
Dec 11, 2002 7:05 AM
I'm impressed (but not surprised) nmms
Dec 11, 2002 7:14 AM
I figured you would be able to ride...Brooks
Dec 11, 2002 8:51 AM
through the mess and probably better than drivers.

In following this thread, I was interested to see if anyone knew the difference between sleet and freezing rain (the two types of ice storms). As I recall from a meterology class umpteen years ago, sleet is formed when the ground and surfaces (like cars) are below freezing and a warmer air mass brings rain. The rain immediately freezes on the cold surfaces causing that wonderful glazing on everything and making it hard to open car doors or drive. Freezing rain, OTOH, is formed when the lower level air is at the freezing point and the warmer rain freezes as it falls (similar to hail, but that's a different process). IMO, freezing rain is better than sleet because it doesn't coat the trees, cars, roads, etc with a layer of ice. I still don't like though and I sure don't miss it after living in Maryland for 10 years. I'll take the snow (if we can get any) here in the Rockies of Utah anytime.

Ride home safely.
Lonely Bikespeter in NVA
Dec 11, 2002 9:05 AM
I literally could not walk out on my driveway this AM, just looked at my bikes sitting in the garage.

Saw on the news a vehicle went off an overpass near Dulles AP and fell down onto the Toll Road ... watch those cars!