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                   Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 4:23AM

WARNING: Freezing rain to threaten holiday travelers

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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Life-threatening situation developing for holiday travelers: For the second year in a row, a far-reaching freezing rain event is beginning to unfold across the Plains, Midwest, Appalachians, Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge, Ohio Valley, Great Lakes and Northeast US just prior to the Christmas holiday. Freezing rain - responsible for creating extremely dangerous 'black ice' - will occur in many locations between Tuesday and Friday. During last year's outbreak, freezing rain caused crashes that killed at least 49 people and injured countless hundreds during the two-day period from December 23-34. That toll rivals many of the country's tornado outbreaks in the past few decades! Unfortunately, nearly the same scenario is taking shape this week.

If you are traveling this week or have friends and family who are, please pass the word along! Anywhere you encounter rain this week could potentially be freezing rain - and the wet road you are driving on could suddenly and invisibly become ice at any time! Virtually no speeds are safe on icing from freezing rain, and driving at normal speeds when encountering this hazard often results in serious and deadly crashes. 'Black ice' does not always appear black - it can appear the same color as the pavement type - including gray, tan, or black. Freezing rain icing appears identical to wet pavement and usually cannot be identified visually!

Pay attention to weather forecasts and SLOW DOWN when encountering any precipitation of unknown type. Any rain could potentially be deadly freezing rain. Postpone travel if freezing rain or freezing drizzle is forecast anywhere along your travel routes.

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The following comments were posted before this site switched to a new comment system on August 27, 2016:

Hi Dan, we have exactly what you are describing above. Severe freezing conditions accross the UK 15 deaths so far with that total sure to rise. People just wont slow down.
- Posted by Mick from UK
Mick, I read some of those reports - looks very bad over there. Definitely a time to be careful.
- Posted by Dan R. from Washington, PA

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