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  • Author or Editor: Kristopher J. Sanders x
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Kristopher J. Sanders and Brian L. Barjenbruch


Substantial freezing rain or drizzle occurs in about 24% of winter weather events in the continental United States. Proper preparation for these freezing rain events requires accurate forecasts of ice accumulation on various surfaces. The Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) has become the primary surface weather observation system in the United States, and more than 650 ASOS sites have implemented an icing sensor as of March 2015. ASOS observations that included ice accumulation were examined from January 2013 through February 2015. The data chosen for this study consist of 60-min periods of continuous freezing rain with precipitation rates ≥ 0.5 mm h−1 (0.02 in. h−1) and greater than a trace of ice accumulation, yielding a dataset of 1255 h of observations. Ice:liquid ratios (ILRs) were calculated for each 60-min period and analyzed with 60-min mean values of temperature, wet-bulb temperature, wind speed, and precipitation rate. The median ILR for elevated horizontal (radial) ice accumulation was 0.72:1 (0.28:1), with a 25th percentile of 0.50:1 (0.20:1) and a 75th percentile of 1.0:1 (0.40:1). Strong relationships were identified between ILR and precipitation rate, wind speed, and wet-bulb temperature. The results were used to develop a multivariable Freezing Rain Accumulation Model (FRAM) for use in predicting ice accumulation incorporating these commonly forecast variables as input. FRAM performed significantly better than other commonly used forecast methods when tested on 20 randomly chosen icing events, with a mean absolute error (MAE) of 1.17 mm (0.046 in.), and a bias of −0.03 mm (−0.001 in.).

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John L. Campbell, Lindsey E. Rustad, Sarah Garlick, Noah Newman, John S. Stanovick, Ian Halm, Charles T. Driscoll, Brian L. Barjenbruch, Elizabeth Burakowski, Steven D. Hilberg, Kristopher J. Sanders, Jason C. Shafer, and Nolan J. Doesken


Ice storms are important winter weather events that can have substantial environmental, economic, and social impacts. Mapping and assessment of damage after these events could be improved by making ice accretion measurements at a greater number of sites than is currently available. There is a need for low-cost collectors that can be distributed broadly in volunteer observation networks; however, use of low-cost collectors necessitates understanding of how collector characteristics and configurations influence measurements of ice accretion. A study was conducted at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire that involved spraying water over passive ice collectors during freezing conditions to simulate ice storms of different intensity. The collectors consisted of plates composed of four different materials and installed horizontally; two different types of wires strung horizontally; and rods of three different materials, with three different diameters, and installed at three different inclinations. Results showed that planar ice thickness on plates was 2.5–3 times as great as the radial ice thickness on rods or wires, which is consistent with expectations based on theory and empirical evidence from previous studies. Rods mounted on an angle rather than horizontally reduced the formation of icicles and enabled more consistent measurements. Results such as these provide much needed information for comparing ice accretion data. Understanding of relationships among collector configurations could be refined further by collecting data from natural ice storms under a broader range of weather conditions.

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Scott F. Blair, Jennifer M. Laflin, Dennis E. Cavanaugh, Kristopher J. Sanders, Scott R. Currens, Justin I. Pullin, Dylan T. Cooper, Derek R. Deroche, Jared W. Leighton, Robert V. Fritchie, Mike J. Mezeul II, Barrett T. Goudeau, Stephen J. Kreller, John J. Bosco, Charley M. Kelly, and Holly M. Mallinson


A field research campaign, the Hail Spatial and Temporal Observing Network Effort (HailSTONE), was designed to obtain physical high-resolution hail measurements at the ground associated with convective storms to help address several operational challenges that remain unsatisfied through public storm reports. Field phases occurred over a 5-yr period, yielding hail measurements from 73 severe thunderstorms [hail diameter ≥ 1.00 in. (2.54 cm)]. These data provide unprecedented insight into the hailfall character of each storm and afford a baseline to explore the representativeness of the climatological hail database and hail forecasts in NWS warning products. Based upon the full analysis of HailSTONE observations, hail sizes recorded in Storm Data as well as hail size forecasts in NWS warnings frequently underestimated the maximum diameter hailfall occurring at the surface. NWS hail forecasts were generally conservative in size and at least partially calibrated to incoming hail reports. Storm mode played a notable role in determining the potential range of maximum hail size during the life span of each storm. Supercells overwhelmingly produced the largest hail diameters, with smaller maximum hail sizes observed as convection became progressively less organized. Warning forecasters may employ a storm-mode hail size forecast philosophy, in conjunction with other radar-based hail detection techniques, to better anticipate and forecast hail sizes during convective warning episodes.

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