Freezing rain creates a slippery coat of ice on everything it hits. Walking and driving in a freezing rain storm can be quite challenging.
Also, power outages are common in freezing rain storms. The rain drops hit tree limbs, freezing to them. As the buildup of ice continues, the tree branches get heavier and heavier. Eventually, they sag into power lines, snapping them.
Here's how freezing rain forms.
1. At the cloud level, the temperature is below freezing. The precipitation, then, begins as snow.
2. During a freezing rain event, a thin layer of relatively warm air resides between the cloud and the ground. As the snow hits this layer, it melts into rain drops.
3. As the rain drop falls to the surface, where the temperature is below freezing, it freezes to whatever it hits: streets, trees, power lines, sidewalks to name a few.