Skip to Content

Rime ice vs. hoar frost: Nature’s icy show early January 2021

Kris Kiesow-Knudson
Kris Kiesow-Knudson
Janelle Prince
Barb Senglaub
Tammy Markgren
Tammy Markgren
Kris Kieslow-Knudson

(WQOW) - If you were out and about this weekend, you may have noticed a beautiful coating of frost on the trees. Freezing fog left a white coating on all kinds of surfaces like trees, fences and even people's Christmas decorations.

This coating of tiny white needles is called rime ice, which is different than another phenomenon you may have heard of called hoar frost.

Fog is made up of tiny water droplets, and when temperatures are below freezing, like they were this weekend, those droplets will freeze to solid surfaces like trees, creating the beautiful needles of rime ice.

Hoar frost on the other hand, often forms on clear, cold nights. It forms similarly to dew, except the water vapor in the air skips the liquid stage and freezes directly onto surfaces, creating a series of interlocking crystals.

We would love to see your photos. You can email those to us at

Jess Langlois

Jess Langlois is the weekend meteorologist and weekday multi-media journalist for News 18. She joined us in July of 2019.

Skip to content