We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Ice Storm?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An ice storm occurs when frozen rain or hail blankets a region. Not only do roads freeze, but also ice coats trees, bushes and power lines. Because of the weight of the ice, this type of storm can cause tremendous damage to an area, pulling down trees and power lines. A few past ice storms have caused farmers to lose entire crops or power to be lost for many days.

Typically, an ice storm occurs when the ground temperature is below freezing 32 F (0 C). Above ground, the temperature is close to freezing. These storms are common in areas where one doesn’t see a lot of snow, because they don’t require the same degree of cold that would produce snow.

However, an ice storm can also affect areas that do get snow yearly. In 1998, such a storm hit Northern New York, and parts of Eastern Canada. It was immensely destructive, damaging numerous maple trees in Canada that are relied upon for the maple sugar industry. It also caused power loss for many people, about three million. Many did not have power restored for up to six weeks.

This ice storm and others are more challenging than snowstorms because they can destroy so much with a relatively small amount of ice. Generally to be defined as an ice storm, one quarter of an inch of ice (.635 cm) must fall. A quarter of an inch of snow, conversely, tends to be much easier to manage, even in regions where snow is uncommon.

Roads become perilous to drive upon because they are frozen. People lose power, crops, and trees can be pulled down. People can and have died because of limited access to driving, and thus to medical facilities, or because they may not have inadequate heating systems in their homes or emergency generators.

The 1998 storm in New York and Canada caused about 3 million US dollars (USD) worth of damage. Loss of work days and stalled business can be incalculable. Other storms have resulted in even greater financial damage. The president of the US declared parts of Kansas a disaster zone after it was hit by an ice storm in 2005. At least 39 million USD of estimated damage occurred.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon139375 — On Jan 04, 2011

an ice storm has as much to do with hail as a rain cloud does to a dust cloud. hail is produced when rain droplets typically during the spring and summer months, are drawn up into large thunderstorms by the updrafts. the updrafts lift the rain to such a height that it then turns to ice. the stronger the storm, the more this process is repeated and larger the stone will become.

In 1979 in fort collins, colorado, the only fatality occurred when a stone the size of a grapefruit hit an infant as her mother rushed into a nearby mall for cover. an ice storm is rain that turns to ice on contact with the ground. as described herein, a hail storm drops hail which is already in the form of ice which hits the ground as ice, not freezing rain, which occurs during the cold months of the year, opposite of when hail storms occur.

By anon86504 — On May 25, 2010

can you help us with our project? Are hail storms more powerful than ice storms? Please post this so i can have an answer! i know it's silly but my question is important to me!

By anon84732 — On May 17, 2010

dude, this is good info. i am doing a report and it helped a lot! could you post some more info to help me out. Thanks.

By anon9352 — On Mar 04, 2008

I live in Western NY and the "big" ice storm occurred in 1991 not 1998. We had another ice storm in 2003, though not as significant

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.