Black ice a danger in current cold snap

The winter cold snap that has made northern cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis look like Antarctic civilizations has made its way to the deep south. Last night, the overnight low in Pensacola was 22 degrees, which was one degree shy of the all-time low for that day. In fact, the large number of heating systems caused a power outage that affected 2,200 customers on Pensacola Beach. According to a Gulf Power representative, the surge in usage could cause power lines to sag and fail.

 

The cold weather could also cause problems on Pensacola roads.

When moisture freezes on roads, black ice can form. These thin, virtually invisible sheets can cause drivers to quickly lose control of their vehicles and cause car accidents. Images of drivers spinning out and crashing could be seen on a number of national news broadcasts. A crash in Minnesota where a pick-up truck crashed on an overpass and plunged at least 75 feet to a frozen pond also made national headlines.

When temperatures drop below 32 degrees, the possibility (and danger) of black ice is very real…even in the south. Because of this, drivers must be careful in these conditions. It is prudent to slow down and take curves and tight turns very carefully. Indeed, it is easier to slow down in rush hour traffic, but drivers should be especially mindful of black ice dangers when driving late at night (when many cars are not on the road).

Fortunately, the cold spell is not forecasted to linger past Thursday.

 

Source: PNJ.com, “Power restored on Pensacola Beach,” January 8, 2014