For the past several weeks, our area has felt the effects of below-freezing temperatures; broken pipes, car problems, treacherous roads and sidewalks that are glazed over with ice.
The extremely cold temperatures in some areas dropped thermometers to almost 20 degrees below zero.
Susanville’s resident meteorological expert, Dr. Owen Bateson, talks about the prolongued cold spell.
“The December snow has lasted longer than my records show over the past 30-years and still shows no signs of even thinking about melting,” says Bateson, “It has been so cold that we have experienced a weather phenomenon called diamond dust.”
Diamond dust is made up of tiny frozen ice crystals that precipitate directly out of a clear but very cold blue sky that normally occurs in the Arctic or Antarctica.
Over the past few days, our old friend ‘Pogo Nip’ or freezing fog is back again and adding to our misery.
“This type of fog begins as super-cooled droplets of liquid water that begins to form when the dew point and the temperature are within 4 degrees Fahrenheit of each other,” explains Bateson, “These droplets then start to precipitate out of the fog as small ice crystals which can look very much like regular snow.”
“It builds up on everything like a hoarfrost, resulting in white flocked trees and bushes and practically everything else that is left outside. It covers the roads with a thin layer of very slick ice creating very hazardous driving conditions and can even build up so much on power lines to cause them to sag and break under the added weight.”
“Hopefully,” says Doctor Bateson, “we will get a cold front coming through which will actually raise our temperatures and maybe even start raining or snowing again.”