Blanket of ice coats the region, followed by ‘flash freeze’

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

Keeping track of the different weather events has not been easy as of late.  Whether you want to blame El Nino or global warming, there have been different types of winter weather to start the new year.

Icy conditions caused slippery conditions on area roads, causing school closures in Onaway, Rogers City and Posen. (Photo by Richard Lamb)
Icy conditions caused slippery conditions on area roads, causing school closures in Onaway, Rogers City and Posen. (Photo by Richard Lamb)

Late last week, Presque Isle County residents experienced a phenomenon that can be characterized as a “flash freeze.” It happened Friday night, heading into Saturday.

Warm temperatures and rain created slushy conditions, but when an Arctic cold front rolled in, everything just froze right up.  Twenty-four hours before, misty rain coupled with windy conditions left 1/10th of an inch of ice on everything.

Not enough to be branded an actual ice storm, but slick enough to cause dangerous driving conditions and close schools. For Posen Consolidated Schools, it was the second time in a week the cancellation notice went out.

“We had quite a bit of warm air that came in aloft,” said Jim Keysor, National Weather Service (NWS) warning coordination meteorologist. “We see that a lot in the winter, where you don’t feel it on the surface, but you will see it above the ground, basically, up in the clouds.”

Keysor said that’s what happened last week.

There was not a lot of ice Thursday heading into Friday, but enough to cause problems. The misty rain turned to ice.

“It coated everything,” said Keysor. “All the surfaces were cold at the time it started, and everything iced up Thursday heading into Friday.”

Early this week, the snow started to fall again, bringing 4 to 6 inches of snow. A NWS spotter from the area reported four inches during a 24-hour period and 15-inches on the ground. The total for the season went up to 47 inches at the Presque Isle County Road Commission headquarters in Rogers City.