Hey I hope you all had a happy holiday. I was off with family, enjoying myself. But I am back. Well the trip WAS a little exciting. Here let’s start with a quiz:
1. What temperature does water freeze at?
2. What happens to the temperature when you go up into the mountains?
OK. Super easy right? Water freezes at 32 F (that’s 0 C if you live outside of the US). And when you go up into the mountains the temperatures go down.
Well, not so fast. Here was the set-up when we left home for the holidays. It was 26 F at my house, and it was raining. Liquid water. But it was so far below the freezing point that the water instantaneously froze when it hit something solid (like my windshield, or the road). Ice storm full on.
Looking at the radar I knew that it was going to warm up as we went up into the mountains. When we got to an altitude of about 1200 ft the temps had jumped up to 46 F.
What we were having was an inversion where warm air rides up over cold air. Rain falls from the warm air and doesn’t have enough time to turn to snow or sleet before hitting the ground. When we drove up into the mountains we went up into the warm air, out of the ice.
Those are the makings of an ice storm. And for the first 20 miles of our trip it was the most treacherous driving I have ever been in. But we made it. And the holidays were great.
When we got back home our driveway was about 6 inches higher than normal (3″ of ice on top of 6″ of snow). After the ice storm we had about 1″ of fresh snow on top.
Today I went outside and discovered that the ice storm gave me a little present. That 3″ of ice? Yeah baby, a luge track waiting to be born. I have a nice little hill in my yard that pretty close in grade to the start ramps on a luge track. I cleaned off a nice start ramp. And when I got to the bottom of the hill? Uh huh, I kept going and put in a nice left hand turn. Of course that required banking. And so Noah and I scooped up all of the snow in the back yard and put a banked left hand turn in. The temps were about 35F so the snow was really packy, making for nice shapability.
Tonight when it got cold out, I grabbed the hose and started to hose down the track. I want to build up a really nice layer of ice. The temps are going to plunge this week, which should allow me to get that really nice thick layer down.
(You cannot really see how steep the hill is from this picture. The green arrow is there because there is very little contrast between the track and not the track.)
Picture of the Day