Higher Sun

Although this winter has been so mild and snow free that our roads have generally been bare and dry most of the time, during most winters that is not the case.  Because of that, I have always looked forward to Valentine’s Day as the time of year when road conditions would 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 October 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 do see some snow we can count on the Sun as well as road crews to get those roads ice free