Category Archives: Ice

Freezing fog advisory for a half-dozen Kansas counties east of Wichita

The National Weather Service in Wichita has issued a freezing fog advisory for a half-dozen counties east of the metropolitan area until 10 a.m.

The advisory covers Chase, Greenwood, Allen, Woodson, Wilson and Neosho counties. Among the towns included are Cottonwood Falls, Fredonia, Chanute, Yates Center and Iola.

Black ice could form on bridges and overpasses, making travel treacherous and visibility poor – below one-quarter of a mile – through mid-morning.

When a blizzard kills a friend

Her name was Monica Quintus, but her friends in cyberspace knew her as “Cookie Lady.” She loved to bake cookies and send them across town or across the country to friends just to brighten their day.

More than once, she dropped by the newsroom unannounced with a tray of fresh cookies after learning that I had had to write a particularly wrenching story.

She was shy and worked at Cessna and wasn’t one to stand out from the crowd unless you noticed and appreciated kindness and warm smiles and the fact that when she asked how you were doing she really cared about your answer.

On the Sunday before Christmas 2002, we chatted on the phone about our holiday plans. She told me she had a lot of holiday baking to do before she left for Tulsa, where her parents lived. She loved to give cookies and other baked goods as presents.

I knew there was a snow storm moving into the area overnight, but her baking list left me with the impression she wouldn’t be able to leave until Christmas Eve morning on Tuesday.

But I began receiving phone calls and e-mails from other friends of Monica on Monday night asking me if it was true that she had been killed in Oklahoma. I put my reporter hat back on and learned she had driven into the snowstorm, and slid out of control on the Cimarron Turnpike and into the path of a semitrailer truck.

She was pinned in the wreckage for an hour and died later at a nearby hospital. I was sleep-deprived and numb with shock as I wrote a story about the storm the next day. The lump in my throat wouldn’t budge.

Several friends from the Wichita area went to her funeral on a crisp, sunny day after Christmas, though I was not able to join them.

Ever since then, when I hear that snow or ice is a possibility in the region, I remember Monica and don’t hesitate to mention the threat to readers. Some may snarl, some may laugh, and I know there’s no guarantee anyone will take heed.

But maybe – just maybe – some readers will be more careful after learning of the weather threat and arrive safely at their destination as a result.

In that small way, Cookie Lady can keep on giving.

Images of an icy world

Photographer Katherine Bay, with whom I chatted in an earlier blogpost, shared a couple of photos that she took while on a stroll earlier today:
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Black ice, freezing fog — terms I hope we don’t see in many forecasts this winter

The mention of “freezing fog” in recent local forecasts has more than a few folks scratching their heads, because they’ve never heard of fog freezing before.

But it happens – particularly on mountaintops exposed to low clouds. Freezing fog occurs when liquid fog droplets freeze to surfaces, forming what is called “white rime ice.”

Not rhyme ice. Rime ice…which according to the Web site MiMi.hu is “an opaque coating of tiny, white, granular ice particles” that form when water strikes a surface well below 32F and rapidly freezes.

Black ice, by contrast, is a thin – almost invisible – layer of ice formed when rain falls on a surface that is below freezing. It is especially dangerous, because it is difficult to detect…until you’ve lost your footing or your car is gliding somewhere out of control.

With freezing drizzle in the forecast….

….I am wondering: Should freezing drizzle be called “frizzle?”

Forecasts this morning warned of freezing fog. It’s probably good we haven’t dubbed it “frog,” because that would almost certainly confuse folks who jump to a different conclusion than the forecasters intended.

The freezing drizzle is expected to fall overnight, so commuters should be particularly wary of bridges and elevated roadways.

Most major roads in Kansas snow-packed

A look at the Kansas Department of Transportation’s map of road conditions shows that most major thoroughfares in the state are mostly or completely snowpacked this morning.

That translates into travel challenges.

Forecasts show that there won’t be much opportunity at all for melting before freezing rain arrives Thursday morning to glaze southern and central sectors of Kansas.

This winter’s starting to resemble last year’s version, when wintry precipitation cloaked Wichita and the surrounding area every few days. That got old pretty fast for folks who had become accustomed to the milder winters of the previous decade.

Perhaps those were merely aberrations, instead of a “new normal.”

Hunker down: winter’s not even officially here until next Monday.