Now that all the ice from last week’s winter storm has melted away, one potentially dangerous and long-lasting effect will need to be monitored. We’re talking “ice wedging.”

You may be wondering what even is ice wedging? First, remember that when water freezes, it expands and also becomes less dense.

Ice wedging occurs when frozen precipitation falls over an area and seeps into small cracks in rocks and other materials. As the ice and snow begin to melt, it liquifies and pools into these crevices, and then refreezes at night. This process needs to happen multiple times.

As the water refreezes, it expands and causes pressure against the lining of the crevice, widening the crack. This process is common in areas that see annual wintry precipitation.

However, it can still happen during a prolonged winter weather event in areas like Central Texas.

The winter storms of February 2021 caused enough ice wedging for the famous Hamilton Pool to close for a majority of the year. The wedging forced several rock falls into the pool, making it unsafe for people looking to cool off.

Ice wedging is also a major concern when it comes to our area roads as it can cause potholes and large crevices to form.

Last week’s winter storms were not as severe as 2021. However, ice was still reported on the ground in some shaded areas several days after the event. Meaning, melting and refreezing was occurring during this time.

Be sure to have your yard surveyed if you know your property has a rocky foundation or if you’ve seen large crevices prior to the winter storm.