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July 29, 2014

‘Blow ice’ vexing drivers; semis skittering off highways

Thursday morning was a rough one for semitrailer truck drivers criss-crossing the state on slick roads, and Minnesota drivers are battling “blow ice,” State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow said.

Grabow said there were 15 crashes in west-central Minnesota Thursday, including 10 rollovers, four with injuries, and an additional 17 vehicles spun off the road. Grabow, a state patrol communications officer, was tweeting photos of some of the five jackknifed semis across west-central Minnesota Thursday:

So, after “polar vortex,” “umbles,” and “bombogenesis,” add “blow ice” to your winter-weather vocabulary.

Grabow tweeted BringMeTheNews that blow ice is the result of wind blowing snow across the road and either slightly warmer temperatures or tires melt it, but the moisture is still cold enough to freeze and quickly become ice.

In short, WDAY TV in Fargo says, the condition happens because ice forms when “snow blowing over a roadway melts and refreezes.”

You know it when you see it – here’s a couple photos of blow ice, again from Grabow: