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Rain, sleet and snow ending by sunrise

Posted by David Epstein  December 6, 2013 11:00 PM

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The sound of sleet pinging on the windows is an indication of the colder air moving back into the area this evening. It appears that we have several hours of wintry precipitation before it all comes to end end between 5 AM and 7AM Saturday. A winter weather advisory is in effect for much of the area away from the coast where snow and sleet can cause slippery travel.ww a.jpg
During the weekend I'll be updating the forecast as it changes on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

The map of warnings, watches and advisories for the country touches many areas and certainly covers millions of people this evening. Whether ice, snow, cold or fog, many Americans are under some sort of advisory heading into the weekend.
warnings usa2.jpg
Arctic air continues to grip much of the lower 48 and where the boundary between this bitter blast and mild air exists, lots of precipitation is breaking out. ice storm ark.gif The worse of the weather earlier Friday was centered around Arkansas, where the ice storm causes power outages. In those areas with cold and no power things can become life threatening. More than many other weather events, major ice storms can create widespread damage.

The basic reason for the ice is cold air at the ground, while milder air is still present just under the clouds. sleet and freezing rain.jpg As snow falls, it melts into rain. Then as it continues to move towards the ground it cools below 32F, but stays liquid. Water under 32F, but still liquid is called supercooled and the instant it hits a cold surface, like trees, driveways or power lines, it freezes and forms a coating of ice.

This same front passed through the area earlier Friday and now, as colder air moves in an area of precipitation is moving to the northeast. Over the next several hours the rain and sleet will change to all snow before ending.

Exactly how fast the rain changes to snow will determine how much snow is on the ground when you get up in the morning as well as the ground temperature. A difference of 60 minutes one way or another will determine if the ground is white or not in many places. This is not a major or even moderate event, but a coating up to 2 inches of snow is possible from the south shore northwest to the New Hampshire border. The map gives a general idea that the most snow is north and west and then trails off towards Cape Cod.
11 pm update.jpg
Further west, across Berkshire County a light plowable storm is likely, especially in the higher peaks of the hills.

Weekend weather
The rest of the weekend looks sunny and cold, but dry. Temperatures will be in the 30s and minimal melting of any snow will occur, especially in areas facing north or east with no sun. Remember, the sun is not only very weak this time of year, we have very little of it as well.

Patriots game forecast
Temperatures will be in the 30s at kickoff and then fall to the upper 20s by the end of the game. Skies will be clear and there will not be any risk of snow before during or on the way home after the game.
Next system
Sunday night another storm will move northward and affect the region. Since there will be cold air already in place any precipitation that falls will start as snow. Milder air will work into the region after sunrise and any snow will change to a mix of rain and snow or just some drizzle before ending.

This isn’t a big storm either, but the timing is such there will be delays Monday morning. After this system passes, cold air will return and the remaining part of the work week looks below normal.

Outdoor project this weekend
In this video I show you a project you can do this weekend and bring the kids along too.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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