Ice accumulations are piling up across the northeast United States. Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees and disrupt communications and power. It can also lead to dangerous traveling conditions. Before you venture out, it is a good idea to know about different forms of ice that can be encountered outdoors.

Black ice is a common driving hazard during the winter. It is defined as patchy ice on roadways or other surfaces that cannot be easily seen. Black ice appears most often during the early morning hours, especially after rain freezes or snow melt refreezes over night when temperatures are below freezing. On a wet day with temperatures below 32 degrees, it is always a good idea to take extra precautions on the road in case a patch of black ice is present.

The potential dangers do not stop with black ice. Ice jams in rivers and lakes can also cause hazardous road conditions. Ice jams happen when long cold spells cause rivers and lakes to freeze. This can result in severe flooding, which can lead to slick and icy roads if temperatures drop below freezing. Be on the lookout for ice jams if you plan on driving near a river.

To know about ice storms ahead of time, be sure to consult your local weather forecast office for updates. If you live nearby, check out for ice storm information from our 18 Storm Team.