Freezing rain is set to batter Leeds this weekend - and this is why it's so dangerous

Blizzards conditions are set to hit Leeds this weekend, including snow, ice and freezing rain.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 14th December 2018, 11:52 am
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 11:57 am
Blizzards conditions are set to hit Leeds this weekend, including snow, ice and freezing rain
Blizzards conditions are set to hit Leeds this weekend, including snow, ice and freezing rain

But what is freezing rain and why is it so dangerous?

The Met Office explains that “Freezing rain is a type of liquid precipitation that falls as a supercooled water droplet until it strikes a cold surface, at which point it freezes almost instantly.”

“Freezing rain tends to start its life as snow, ice, sleet or hail, but passes through a layer of air that’s above 0 °C on the way down to the ground, melting into a liquid water droplet.

Blizzards conditions are set to hit Leeds this weekend, including snow, ice and freezing rain

“If these droplets then fall through a zone of sub-zero air just above the ground, they become supercooled. When these supercooled droplets strike surfaces that are close to or below freezing, they freeze on impact forming a glaze of ice.”

“The conditions needed for freezing rain to occur are quite specific and we don’t see them very often, making this phenomenon quite rare in the UK. We are more likely to see rain falling onto already frozen surfaces, or wet surfaces that freeze as temperatures drop below 0 °C overnight.”

Why is freezing rain dangerous?

As the Met Office explains, “Freezing rain is rare in the United Kingdom but when it does occur the impacts can be very severe. This is due to the fact that it can form very quickly, it can be difficult to see and is incredibly slippery.

This weekend’s weather forecast

An amber weather warning for ice is now is place for Leeds as blizzard conditions are set to hit this weekend.

This amber warning is in place from 10am on Saturday morning (15 Dec) until 6am on Sunday morning (16 Dec).

According to the Met Office, “Heavy freezing rain is expected to develop during Saturday. This will result in the rapid formation of widespread ice on roads, pavements, trees and other structures.”

“Some sleet and snow is possible over the very highest ground and the freezing rain may also be followed by a spell of sleet and snow as the precipitation clears from the west.

“The freezing rain and sleet and snow will be accompanied by strong southeasterly winds which will pose an additional hazard to travel, in particular over high ground.”