The magical number of 32 degrees plays such an important role in our winter weather forecasts. Driving to work at 33 or higher like this morning comes as a sigh of relief for many. But anytime you’ve watched the mercury drop to 31 as the droplets of drizzle collect as ice on the windshield, the stress that follows for drivers is never fun.
Drizzle, whether it’s the freezing variety or not, exists in liquid form both above and below 32 degrees. The droplets lack the microscopic ice nuclei necessary for water to freeze. So long as all the surfaces below the cloud are above freezing, all is well. But the world around us changes when it drops below freezing and the objects around cool to the air temperature.
That’s when drivers can misjudge how fast to go on bridges and overpasses as they can become slippery compared to other parts of the road. Overdriving the conditions is the biggest concern and can be a trap all too easy to fall into during these winter systems, especially the more subtle ones.
We are fortunate this one is just plain drizzle for many. But we may not be so fortunate the next time.