Ice Storms & How They Affect Canada

What causes ice storms?

Freezing occurs when air warmer than the freezing mark above the ground moves over subfreezing air near the ground. When snow aloft falls through the warmer layer it melts into rain. Then, as the rain droplets fall into the shallow layer of subfreezing air, the droplets freeze upon contact

What happens during ice storms?

The December 2008 Northeastern United States ice storm was a damaging ice storm that took out power for millions of people in those regions. Damage was primarily a result of fallen trees and fallen utility wires and poles, which were coated in a heavy layer of ice. The storm raised heavy controversy over the slow return of power, as at the storm's peak as many as 1.7 million customers were without power. Days after the storm more than 800,000 customers were still without power. Almost a week after the storm still more than 100,000 customers were without power.

Where could ice storms occur in Canada?

Ice storms are likely to occur across Canada throughout the winter season, but most often in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. They can last between a few hours to several days.

What are the potential impacts of ice storms on people and property?

Freezing rain is tough, clings to everything it touches and is more slippery than snow. A little freezing rain is dangerous, a lot can be catastrophic. Ice covers trees and bushes, power lines snap, many vehicles are damaged and become immobilized, and some homes collapse. Some are outside and freeze, some are trapped inside, some are injured but survive, in terrible cases some die, but many are unharmed.

What do people need to do in their home and work places to be prepared for ice storms?

What do communities need to do to be prepared for ice storms?

Safe exits from home and neighbourhood. Meeting places to reunite with family or roommates. Designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable. Contact persons close-by and out-of-town. Health and insurance information. Places for your pet to stay. Risks in your region. Location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical panel, gas valve and floor drain.


Government of Canada. (2015, Aug 4th). Get Prepared. Retrieved April 13th, 2017. 11 Facts About Ice Storms. Retrieved April 13th, 2017.

Wikipedia. (2017, Apr 4th). December 2008 Northeastern United States Ice Storm. Retrieved April 13th, 2017.

Focus Humanitarian Assistance. (2014, Unknown). Winter Storm. Retrieved April 13th, 2017.

Government of Canada. (2017, Feb 24th). Severe Storms. Retrieved April 13th, 2017.

Weather6matthias. Effects of Ice Storms. Retrieved April 13th, 2017.


Created with images by Jan Tik - "Omaha Ice Storm 1"

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