An Evaluation of the Severity of the January 1998 Ice Storm in Northern New England
COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB HANOVER NH
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A severe freezing-rain storm hit Canada and the northeastern United States the week of January 5, 1998. Warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico encountered cold Arctic air, initially in northern New York and southern Quebec. The cold front moved south and east from there into Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. This set up the classic scenario for freezing rain, as the less dense, warm Gulf air was forced up over the Arctic air. The liquid precipitation cooled as it fell through the cold air. When the still-liquid rain and drizzle drops struck a tree or a structure they froze as the latent heat of fusion was removed by convective and evaporative cooling. Ice freezing to trees and overhead lines caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage in both countries and left hundreds of thousands of people without power for periods ranging from hours to more than three weeks. In the United States the President declared disasters in New York five counties, six Vermont counties, and all New Hampshire and Maine counties except the coast. This ice storm was the worst ever in the experience of many people in upstate New York and northern New England, both in the amount of ice that accreted on trees and structures, and the extent of the storm. The storm footprint extended from Watertown in upstate New York and Dublin in southwestern New Hampshire to Calais in eastern Maine, as well as into the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick.
- Snow, Ice and Permafrost