Winter Storm Elliot is definitely going to cause issues for us this holiday weekend. There is one thing that Elliot may leave in its wake that I for one am not ready for yet this winter, potholes.

Earlier this year I told you about the phenomenon called a frost quake. Frost quakes are a creepy event you can't see but you can often hear them in the wee hours of the night. They are also one of the main reasons our roads end up with potholes by the end of winter. Conditions that are being created by Winter Storm Elliot will be perfect for causing us to experience frost quakes which could result in our roads being left with new potholes.

What is a Frostquake? 

Environment and Climate Change Canada via YouTube
Environment and Climate Change Canada via YouTube

In order to have a frost quake you need the ground to be wet like after a good soaking rain or a large snow melt. Then you need the temperature to drop drastically. A winter storm like the one we are experiencing in the Hudson Valley this weekend will leave us with the perfect conditions for frost quakes.

How does a Frost Quake make a Pothole?

The ground soaked with water will freeze with the falling temperatures and when that frozen water expands under the ground you will hear a boom. that is the ground cracking due to the pressure of the frozen water turning into ice. When this happens under our roads it causes the pavement to crack and voila potholes.

The frost quale phenomenon normally occurs in the middle of the night so take a good look at your road tomorrow and then see if you don't have some new potholes or cracked pavement spots on Saturday. If you do you can be pretty sure your street has had a frost quake.

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