Icy Mix on the Way
After a quiet day Friday, the winter weather is on the way. An almost perfect set up for accumulating ice will be here starting Friday night and into Saturday morning.
Cold air is wedged into place for us at the surface, meanwhile extra moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and warmer air are moving in at the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere from the south. On top of that, extra moisture from the Atlantic Ocean will be moving in from the east as well.
When the warm air rides over of the cold air it helps get the precipitation started.
If it was all cold air, this would be easy, we'd be looking at snow, but this time we're not so lucky. Tonight, starting in the late evening snow will begin moving into the south (close to 8 p.m.) Then move northward. The snow will quickly mix in with sleet and eventually overnight change over to all freezing rain. The change to freezing rain will happen as the warmer air sneaks into the mid levels of our atmosphere.
Snow amounts will be minimal in the southern Valley, up to an inch tops for most of us. The northern Valley could see more, up to 2-3 inches. It will all depend on how quickly the warm air moves into the area.
Quick reminder -- Freezing Rain: Precipitation starts as snow in the upper atmosphere and falls through a thick layer of warm air, melting completely. It hits the ground as a liquid raindrop, and then actually re-freezes on contact. This is why we get ice accumulating on cars, roadways, bridges, trees, and power lines.
How much Ice?
I'll admit, these numbers are a little bit aggressive. But, even a trace of ice can make driving hazardous.
Power lines and trees will be an issue with ice accumulation along with dangerous driving on the roads and bridges. Be careful out there.
The upside: On Saturday we start to warm up and in the afternoon any precipitation that comes down in the south will likely be rain. The northern Valley, on the other hand will be dealing with the wintry mix until it moves out of the area around lunch time.