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Frost creates winter wonderland


Central Alberta was a winter wonderland on Thursday thanks to a thick coat of hoar frost.

Below-average low temperatures with just high enough daytime highs to create overnight fog are perfect conditions for hoar frost creation.

The frost clings to items colder than the ambient air, leaving exposed surfaces coated with rime.

Environment Canada meteorologist Louis Kohanyi said Tuesday’s low of -22C is abnormal compared to the -14C average for this period.

Those cold nights will continue until next week, when a warming trend arrives on Monday and hangs around until Friday, when it will dip again to -20C.

Hoar frost on power lines may look lovely but creates a “double whammy,” according to Fortis Alberta spokesperson Jennifer MacGowan.

“Ice buildup . . . wreaks havoc on overhead lines.

“It can cause lines to go down and when ice begins to fall, the line gallops,” she said, referring to the suddenly iceless lines snapping back with risk of hitting nearby lines.

She said when lines went down near Olds last month, some had as much as 12 cm of ice on them.

Volatility issues can also appear due to ice buildup.

The cold temperatures have the City of Red Deer’s Steve Davidson smiling because outdoor rink flooding is just about done.

“We’re the only ones who like this stuff,” said the parks amenities supervisor.

Bower Ponds, Anders on the Lake and West Lake rinks will all open this weekend. Community rinks with shelters are already ready for skaters and the rinks without shelters should be set by Monday.

rfiedler@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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