The Groundhog Day Ice Storm of 2011

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By Brian Dooling on February 1, 2013, 11:05pm Last modified: February 4, 2013, 3:12pm

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The Groundhog Day Ice Storm of 2011 (at least that's what I call it) is also known as the January 31-February 2, 2011 North American Blizzard (wikipedia). It was a prolonged winter storm that brought 10 inches of snow to parts of CT as well as widespread accumulation of ice. Due to the nature of the storm there were two distinct Low pressures, one that cut through the Great Lakes, giving Chicago a blizzard of 1-2 feet of snow, and a coastal low giving us an ice storm. Normally that situation would give CT rain or winter conditions changing to rain, however with a strong high pressure system to the north and a snow pack of 20 inches in Bridgeport, the cold air just got stuck! If you don't remember this was one of the last of a train of storms in January 2011, that brought record snows to CT. Bridgeport records show that the storm started as light snow on February 1st, accumulating to 1.5 inches before changing to light freezing rain by 11 am. The light freezing rain was on and off from 11 am February 1st through 8:30 am February 2nd before changing over to brief period of light rain. Thats 22 hours of light freezing rain!!

Although freezing rain and the ice that accumulates from it is very dangerous, it really does make the landscape sparkle! Not only is it hard to get a freezing rain storm along the CT shoreline, due to the warmer maritime influence of Long Island Sound, but to have the ice stick around for a few days was very impressive. In fact on February 3rd, 2011, the sun came out and illuminated every object outside coated in at least a ½ inch of ice. This created a beautiful display of nature, which I was able to capture in a few photographs, which I placed in this slide show. 


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Brian Dooling

Town: Milford, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since February 2012.

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