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Difference between hoar frost & rime ice

Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 10:56 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Eastern Iowa woke up on Sunday and Monday morning to a layer of ice on plants, trees, and even roadways. What many were seeing is known as rime ice, but many were wondering what the difference is between this and a better known term, hoar frost.

Rime ice often happens in areas of dense fog, like we have seen the past couple of nights. It is when supercooled water drops (in liquid form) in the air come in contact with a surface below freezing. Those liquid water droplets then freeze on contact.

Hoar frost is similar to dew and happens on cold and clear nights. This is when water vapor (which is a gas) freezes onto a below-freezing surface. Because of this process, it actually skips the liquid phase in the deposition process.

You can submit your photos of rime ice in your area below:

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