WOODSTOCK, N.H. (AP) — Along a broad belt that stretches from east Texas to New England, ice storms reshape forests, damage infrastructure and disrupt lives. But their unpredictable nature has made them difficult to study, until now.

At the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire, researchers with the USDA Forest Service and multiple universities have been making their own storms to study how the extreme weather events affect the forest ecosystem, and eventually, model the timing and location of future storms.

Last week, they used firefighting hoses mounted on ATVs to apply varying amounts of ice to trees in several locations. Researchers say among other questions, they hope the project will help determine whether the nation's "ice belt" will shift due to climate change or whether such storms may become more frequent.