What caused the icy, slick commute Thursday morning?

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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A Flash Freeze occurs when there’s a rapid drop in temperatures causing a quick freeze of water already on the ground from rain or melted snow. A flash freeze is different from freezing rain. Freezing rain is when rain hits roads and other surfaces that are at 32 degrees or below and freezes on contact. Ice created by a flash freeze isn’t any slicker than ice from freezing rain or from a gradual temperature drop.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews


A set up of not only snow but also ice led to widespread problems Thursday morning, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. Overnight a burst of snow moved across most of the Miami Valley. The fluffy flakes quickly accumulated on the road and grass. What made Thursday morning more dangerous was that the road temperatures were above freezing initially. This allowed some of the snow to melt on contact. Sub-freezing air then led to some ice and slick roads.

>> Slick spots on area roads after overnight snow

Temperatures overnight had dropped into the 20s. The cold air and light breeze allowed any moisture or slightly melted snow to start to refreeze and ice over. This made for a dangerous commute, especially before sunrise because the roads looked wet. Bridges and overpasses, which are elevated, are exposed to the cold air on the top and bottom of the pavement. Refreeze usually occurs in these spots the fastest. Salting the roads, some sunshine and temperatures climbing above freezing are all ways to improve a dangerous morning drive.

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This afternoon some pop up snow showers are still possible. Winds will also pick up. Wind gusts will range from 25-35 mph out of the west/northwest. This means drivers traveling north or south on I-75 or west on I-70 will feel a more direct impact. High profile vehicles should be careful on the roads today. Leave plenty of space around you in case a car swerves.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

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