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Natural phenomenon turns Wisconsin into winter wonderland

Posted at 7:22 PM, Jan 06, 2021

DELAFIELD — A natural phenomenon has turned Wisconsin into a winter wonderland. It's called rime ice.

"Rime ice actually forms in the air it freezes supercooled water droplets in the air and then attaches itself to a surface," TMJ4 Chief Meteorologist Brian Niznansky says.

Tons of tiny and beautiful crystals can be seen on the leaves and branches of trees in many parts of Wisconsin. This generally happens farther away from Lake Michigan. Plus, this only happens when just the right circumstances are achieved.

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“…the melting snow during the day adds a bunch of moisture to the air. We get the fog at night and then the temperatures cool fast enough in the morning to create the rime ice,” Niznansky said.

While from afar it might look like frost, it is intact something entirely different. The difference in phase changes is key.

“Whereas, frost actually starts as a gas state and actually forms on the forming process actually happens while it’s on a surface, whether its car or a tree branch,” Niznansky said.

The rime ice won’t be here for long, so don’t wait to see it. Grab a jacket and head outside to see some of nature’s most beautiful winter creations. Plus, it makes Wisconsin winters seem not as bad.

Some of the best spots to see it are away from Lake Michigan in areas like Holy Hill and Lapham Peak.

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