||- A Short-cut to Cryogenic Death|
Should freezing rain be encountered, your best escape route is usually UP. If you are crossing a warm front, continue on your current heading, but add full power and CLIMB. You should find warmer air above. Freezing rain tends to be altitude specific. Left or right turns to escape it are not likely to solve the problem.
Freezing rain can be encountered in VFR conditions, but it is rare. If you are not IFR rated, don't proliferate your problems by climbing into the clouds. Instead, consider initiating a steep descent into colder (VFR) air below.
WARNING: Do not delay taking evasive action. Contact ATC and issue an URGENT Pilot Report (UUA) for freezing rain. If you are on an IFR plan, advise them that you need an immediate clearance for a higher altitude. ATC should be responsive, but if they are not, declare an emergency and begin a full power climb anyway! Don't wait. Freezing rain can render your aircraft uncontrollable in a matter of minutes!
The absolute safest way to avoid a freezing rain encounter is to remain on the ground any time the weather is less than sunny, warm, calm, and clear! From a practical perspective, however, your best defense against a freezing rain encounter is to obtain a comprehensive weather briefing prior to every flight. Know where any warm and cold fronts are relative to your planned route of flight. Plan on crossing the warm fronts in a perpendicular fashion. Do not fly close to and parallel to the front, particularly ahead of a warm front that is passing over freezing weather below.
|1. Types of Precipitation
Supercooled Water: Common in atmosphere between -15oC and 0oC
2. Causes of Freezing Rain: Vertical Structure
3. Ice Storm Climatology 1982-1990 (from Robbins and Cortinas, 1996)
of freezing rain observations by month
4. Weather Patterns w/ Freezing Precipitation
A. Warm air "Overrunning" cold surface air
The Thermic Lance