The first day of December started out well enough; it was overcast with no precipitation at 7 a.m., with a temperature of 21 degrees in Shohola, PA. At about 8 a.m., the first hint on what was to …
The first day of December started out well enough; it was overcast with no precipitation at 7 a.m., with a temperature of 21 degrees in Shohola, PA. At about 8 a.m., the first hint on what was to come came in the form of freezing rain. In a phenomenon known as an inversion, the air at some altitute above was warmer than it was on the ground. Precipitation formed by clouds liquefied into rain as it fell into a warm layer, and then became supercooled as it fell into cooler air closer to the ground. Droplets of rain were prevented from completely freezing by the constant agitation caused by falling through the air. When the rain contacted something on the ground, it instantly froze.
Driving at 8 a.m. meant having to turn on the windshield defrosters in order to keep the ice from forming on the windshield. The freezing rain was intermittent in the morning; the roads were not too bad for the first couple hours of the storm. As the day wore on, the rain came down steadier, then turned to mixed precipitation and snow that lasted until late Monday.
The snowfall total forecast for this storm was for about a foot in the region. In Shohola, there was an average of eight inches on the ground. The ice that occurred during the first part of the storm proved to be a problem; it weighed down trees and caused them to bend and sag over power lines. Eastern hemlocks and white birch trees could be seen bending over double during the storm. Many people were out of power for a day or more while crews cleared multiple areas trying to restore power.
This storm wasn’t as destructive as the March storm of two years ago, when many regions had no power for more than a week. This past weather event was a gentle reminder to prepare for future storms and blizzards as the winter months roar in.