Frost depth gets deeper - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Frost depth gets deeper

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- We're hearing a lot more about freezing pipes as the deep frost just keeps getting deeper.  This of course due to the extreme and prolonged cold. 

"One foot, two foot, three foot," said MnDOT Material Lab Supervisor Ken DeCramer. "And we're only half way there. Four foot, five foot eight-and-a-half inches."

MnDOT keeps tabs on frost depth for potential road issues when the thawing starts come spring, but we're still freezing and as temperatures keep dropping, problems are rising.

"I've been monitoring frost in the district for 25 years and this is the deepest I've seen," said DeCramer.

Across the area several 6-and-a-half-foot-long devices measure how deep the frost lies in the ground. A florescent dye is used to differentiate where the ground is frozen to where it's not.

"We've had so many days in a row where it's been below zero and that's where you see the deep penetration," said DeCramer.

"We haven't been that way for a long time, there's some records that go way back. If you go further north, up in northern, Minnesota it's off the charts. You can't even see it," said Mike Dougherty of MnDOT.

The frost in the ground keeps growing and it is already at levels we haven't seen in these parts in almost 30 years. Temperatures would suggest that, as we are also climbing the ladder in terms of coldest winters of all time. In comparison to date, we have about a foot more of frost than last year.

"Back here in December we're doing all right, but since then it's been dropping," said Dougherty.

And in some cases where soil is a little different in Lanesboro or Winona, frost depths are deeper and will continue to get deeper until long term relief arrives.

MnDOT keeps track of the frost because of the potential road issues that it can cause such as pot holes. Once the frost starts to come out, it does so unevenly and that's why there are weight restrictions on roads. The more frost, the higher the potential for problems. It's a bridge MnDOT will have to cross when it gets there.

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