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Ice storms

Advice for prevention

Freezing rain occurs when raindrops fall from a warm layer of air into air that is below freezing and become supercooled. When the supercooled droplets strike a surface below 0°C they instantly freeze, forming a layer of ice.

Remember that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of the precipitation.

What to do in an ice storm

  • The glaze of ice builds up on tree branches, electric wires and buildings. If you must go outdoors after a significant buildup of ice, be aware of branches or wires that could snap under the weight of the ice and fall on you: be extremely cautious.
  • Never touch electric wires. A drooping wire could be charged with high voltage, and you could electrocute yourself.
  • Don’t forget that freezing rain, even in small quantities, can make roads very slippery. You’d be wise to stay off the roads when freezing rain is in the forecast and for several hours after the storm; give the road crews a chance to spread sand on the icy roads.
  • The sudden arrival of an ice storm combined with strong winds increases the risk of hypothermia. If you have a farm, quickly get the animals into a shelter where there is food for them.


Government of Canada