What is freezing rain?
Freezing rain is rain droplets or drizzle that fall in supercooled liquid form until it strikes a cold surface. It is a type of liquid precipitation.
Freezing rain occurs when rain droplets or drizzle fall through air with a temperature below zero and then freeze on impact with the ground or another object to form clear ice - also known as glaze.
Freezing rain tends to start its life as snow, ice, sleet or hail, but passes through a layer of warmer air on the way down. As a result it then melts and returns to a liquid form yet as it continues falling if it passes through colder air again the water droplets become 'supercooled'. When these supercooled droplets strike ground that is close to or below freezing, they freeze on impact.
Supercooling occurs in clouds where droplets remain in a liquid form in temperatures below the normal freezing point.
Due to the specifics of the conditions needed for freezing rain to occur, it is a relatively rare phenomenon that does not happen often in the UK.