Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Ice storm glazes Beckley: Second freezing rain event in four days keeps salt crews busy: February 3, 2005

ABOVE: Long icicles formed on everything in sight in the Beckley area on Wednesday night (click photo to enlarge).

BECKLEY, WV - For the second time in four days, freezing rain fell on the higher elevations of West Virginia on Wednesday night. While the roads were in better shape this time around, the resulting coating of ice clung to just about everything in sight. Icicles grew on signs, cars and guardrails. Salt trucks worked through the night to keep the Turnpike and major roadways clear.

Freezing rain occurs when precipitation falls from a warm layer of air aloft into a layer of below-freezing air at the surface. The rain instantly freezes when it touches objects and surfaces on the ground, creating a glaze-like coating on trees, power lines and roads. Unlike snow, which is somewhat navigable when it covers roadways, this 'black ice' offers no traction for vehicles on roads. Driving on roads iced over from freezing rain is particularly dangerous, as loss of control occurs much easier than on snow or rain-covered surfaces. On 'black ice', just a light tap on the brake or accelerator is enough to send a vehicle into an unrecoverable slide.

PHOTO GALLERY: Photos from Wednesday's ice storm in Beckley (click to enlarge)

ON THE AIR: Icy scenes from Beckley, from Storm Highway video on The Weather Channel on Thursday.

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