WeatherTalk: Beware road frost, even in good weather

In some cases, road frost can be as dangerous as a coating of freezing drizzle.

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Holidays mean travel and, in our northern climate, winter travel. This time of year, roads can become very slick even in times of good weather, particularly at night and early in the morning, when heavy frost forms on road surfaces. When the days are sunny and mild, road surfaces are usually dry. However, the nights bring falling temperatures. Road surfaces cool quickly and often become colder than the surrounding air. When the road surface temperature reaches the frost point, the road can become quite slippery.

In some cases, road frost can be as dangerous as a coating of freezing drizzle. Bridge decks are often among the first places to become icy in such situations, and overall conditions can be quite variable. This can lead to the dreaded “scattered slippery spots” which can catch a driver by surprise. Even in times of good weather, winter driving can be a challenge, particularly around the holidays.

John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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