Preparing for winter weather shouldn’t be something you underestimate. When winter brings hazardous inclement weather, being ready for the cold temperatures and signature precipitation of this season involves more than dressing properly, scraping ice off your car windshield, and salting your sidewalk. If you want to prepare yourself for whatever winter throws your way, familiarize yourself with what you can expect from winter precipitation.
Understanding the Types of Winter Weather
You might think winter weather is all about snow, but wintry precipitation takes many forms. In addition to snowstorms, you could see ice, sleet, and freezing rain. Compared to the previous three types of precipitation, snow is the softest, fluffiest kind of winter precipitation, although you may not agree when you’re trying to navigate three-foot-tall drifts.
So what happens when conditions are not favorable for snow? You might receive any of the following forms of precipitation:
- Rain, liquid precipitation that falls when conditions are too warm for snow
- Freezing rain, precipitation that falls as a liquid but freezes into a glaze upon contact with cold ground or cold surfaces
- Sleet, solid grains of ice created by the freezing of raindrops or refreezing of large melted snowflakes before reaching the ground
Unraveling the Many Forms of Snow
Snow is the most recognizable weather characteristic of winter. This simple substance, however, can take on many forms. For the most part, snow can fall into several categories, including the following:
- Snow flurries, light snow falling for short periods of time with little to no accumulation
- Snow showers, snow falling at different intensities over short periods with some type of accumulation
- Snow squalls, short but intense snow showers usually accompanied by high winds with significant accumulation
- Blowing snow, snow generally driven by the wind, resulting in reduced visibility and drifting snow
- Blizzards, snowstorms categorized by winds speeds of 35 mph or more and considerable falling and blowing snow with visibility of less than one-quarter mile for three or more hours
Understanding Ice Storms
Ice storms are also common in winter. To qualify as an ice storm, at least one-quarter inch of ice must accumulate on any exposed surfaces. Understandably, treacherous icy patches can create unsafe walking and driving conditions, particularly since power lines, trees, and tree branches can fall from heavy ice accumulations.
Lake effect storms occur around lakes and other bodies of water as dry, cold air masses move over these areas. The air picks up moisture from the lakes, and the liquid precipitation eventually becomes snow.
The more you know about the various winter storms, the more you can prepare yourself. Regardless of what winter weather comes your way, General Services Corp., GSC, is your first line of defense against winter weather. No matter what type of precipitation falls, GSC’s service professionals will be ready to clear your property. When winter weather gets serious, call us at 303-442-7747. Snow removal and winter weather are not a sideline with us.