SEARCH BLOG: WEATHER
Last night, about 11:00 pm, my oldest son called to say he was about 6 miles from home and was resting comfortably in a ditch. "Bad joke," was my first reaction. But, unfortunately, it was no joke.
With the temperature below 0°F and winds howling, he had hit a patch of "black ice" and driven 90-degrees over an embankment, over a highway ramp, and down another embankment into 2 feet of snow.My wife called the tow truck while I drove there. A state police car was already there with flares to warn other drivers. Another vehicle was off the road on the other side about a block away... it had hit the same ice and veered off 180° into the opposite embankment. Further up the road there were emergency lights.
Black ice also known as "glare ice" or "clear ice," typically refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface, often a roadway. While not truly black, it is transparent, allowing the usually-black asphalt/macadam roadway to be seen through it, hence the term. It is unusually slick compared to other forms of roadway ice.
Because it contains relatively little entrapped air in the form of bubbles, black ice is transparent and thus very difficult to see (as compared to snow, frozen slush). In addition, it often is interleaved with wet road, which is identical in appearance. For this reason it is especially hazardous when driving or walking because it is both hard to see and unexpectedly slick.
Bridges and overpasses can be especially dangerous. Black ice forms first on bridges and overpasses because air can circulate both above and below the surface of the elevated roadway, causing the pavement temperature to drop more rapidly. This is often indicated with "Bridge May Be Icy" warning signs.
Black ice may form even when the ambient temperature is several degrees above the NTP freezing point of water 32°F (0°C) if the air warms suddenly after a prolonged cold spell that leaves the surface of the roadway well below the freezing point temperature.
In about an hour, the tow truck came and pull our vehicle out. There is no apparent damage to either my son or my vehicle because the deep snow acted as a large net to slow them down and come to a gentle stop.
The only damage was to his wallet for the towing charges on a Sunday night... ouch.Meanwhile, the polar ice cap has melted and New York City is flooding. We must fear the warming.
Excuse the sarcasm...