What freezing rain actually is and why it's so dangerous after Met Office issue weather warnings for Yorkshire

The term 'freezing rain' has been used a lot over the last week after the Met Office issued amber and yellow weather warnings for large parts of the UK.

Saturday, 15th December 2018, 10:21 am
Updated Saturday, 15th December 2018, 10:23 am
Freezing rain could develop in Yorkshire as Met Office issue weather warnings

But what is it, and why is freezing rain so dangerous?

Freezing rain is when rain falls and the temperature of the surface it hits is so cold it freezes over almost instantly.

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This is when the Met Office has issued an AMBER weather warning for ice and a YELLOW warning for snow in Yorkshire
Freezing rain could develop in Yorkshire as Met Office issue weather warnings

This can result in the rapid formation of widespread ice on roads, pavements, trees and other structures.

Freezing rain is rare in the United Kingdom but when it does occur the impacts can be very severe.

This is due to the fact that it can form very quickly, it can be difficult to see and is incredibly slippery.

So with temperatures set to hit freezing in Yorkshire on Saturday, coupled with the fact the Met Office have warned of heavy rain, and the possibility of snow and sleet, there is a strong possibility that freezing rain could follow.

The freezing rain and sleet and snow will be accompanied by strong southeasterly winds which will pose an additional hazard to travel, in particular over high ground.

Common misconceptions about freezing rain

People often think that freezing rain is another term for sleet or snow, literally meaning rain that is frozen while falling from the sky.

This is not the case as freezing rain is something completely different, and only comes into effect when the rain hits the freezing surface and turns to ice.