Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why Is It Freezing Rain and Not Snow?

I hope this graphic makes sense because I just spent 20 minutes making it! :) It shows why I encountered freezing rain and not snow at 31 degrees on my way home from work:
As you go up in the atmosphere, the air is above freezing between roughly 3600' and 8600' (red line). Snowflakes form high in the atmosphere, but on their way down, they melt between 8300' to 3600'. In some cases, the drops refreeze before it hitting the ground and sleet is formed. If it does not have time to refreeze, it hits exposed surfaces and freezes on contact into an ice glaze.

In order to get snow, the air has to be at or below freezing throughout most of the column of the atmosphere.

With that said, we may see some slick spots. I still think that some people may see the entire column go 32 or below, so I'm not completely ruling out some light snow in spots.

Be careful if you are driving late tonight!

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