Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published February 13 2012
Weather Talk: Sun’s angle at 30 degrees helps to melt ice off roadsThis season has been so mild and snow-free that our roads have generally been bare and dry most of the time, but that’s not the case during most winters. Because of that, I have always looked forward to Valentine’s Day as the time of year when road conditions start to improve.
Fargo-Moorhead is located near 47 degrees north latitude, where the sun angle from November through January is generally too low to help melt the ice off area roads unless the temperatures are well into the 20s. But today at solar noon, the sun will be 30 degrees above the horizon for the first time since Oct. 27.
From my observations, once the sun angle reaches 30 degrees or higher, snow and ice tend to melt off pavement, especially asphalt, even when temperatures are as cold as 0 degrees. So although icy roads have been infrequent this winter, the next time we see some snow we can count on the sun as well as road crews to get those roads ice-free.
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