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US icy road toll tops 200; more ice on the way
I know it's Christmas, and I've already posted 100 times this subject - but weather hazards don't observe holidays, so I won't delay this next post any longer. US icy road fatalities this season (since October) passed the 200 mark yesterday, on pace to easily surpass the combined average annual toll for all other forms of severe weather (tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning and floods). As of this evening, the toll is at 210. In the past 5 days, an astounding total of 64 people have lost their lives on icy roads in this country - 35 of those occuring on one day, Tuesday the 23rd. When I started this project, I expected to see the 200 mark reached in February, not before Christmas.
I added a map to the icyroadsafety.com site showing the distribution across the country:
MAP: Icy road danger, by state
I've also added a XML/RSS news feed to icyroadsafety.com, with the intention of shifting some of that topic off of this blog for those who are interested in it.
Freezing rain has been responsible for the majority of the recent incidents, with accident rates and severity far higher than any snowfall events this season. The recent research I've undertaken has confirmed that ice glazing from freezing rain tends to result in more serious and frequent crashes due to its invisibility and element of surprise. Snow on roads is easy for drivers to identify, ice glazing is nearly impossible to.
And unfortunately more is on the way. Tonight will require another all-night coverage marathon here in Charleston, as temps are already crashing past the freezing mark across West Virginia with a slug of precip moving up from the south. Tomorrow morning is going to be a mess.
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